Melissa Napangardi Williams
Aboriginal Warlpiri woman
Melissa Napangardi Williams grew up in Yuendumu, a remote Aboriginal community 290 km north-west of Alice Springs in the NT of Australia. Melissa Napangardi began painting with Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation in 2004. She paints her Father’s Wanakiji Jukurrpa (Bush Tomato Dreaming), Yarla Jukurrpa (Bush Potato Dreaming) and Yuparli Jukurrpa (Bush Banana Dreaming). She also paints her Mother’s Wardapi Jukurrpa (Goanna Dreaming). These stories were passed down to her by her family and their ancestors before them for millennia. She uses an unrestricted palette to develop a modern interpretation of traditional motifs with her own ideas of design and pattern.
This painting depicts a Goanna Dreaming story. The story goes that a Japandardi man named Wamaru travelled south and approached a group of women that were sitting in a circle. He wanted to woo a Nungarrayi woman who was the wrong skin for him. By tribal law their relationship would be taboo. Still he chose to pursue her and they went up the hill at Yarripilangu where they made love. The earth there turned to white ochre and the man turned himself and all of the women into goannas. To this day white ochre can still be found at the top of the hill. The ochre is used for love magic and ceremonial decoration.
This painting depicts Wardapi Jukurrpa (Goanna Dreaming). This dramatic Dreaming story travels between Purturlu (Mount Theo) and Yarripilangu (Newhaven), and belongs to Napandangka/Napangardi women and Japangka/Japengardi men.
This Wardapi Jukurrpa (Goanna Dreaming) comes from Yarripilangku, south-west of Yuendumu. It is a story about the forbidden love between a Japangardi man and a Nungarrayi woman. By tribal law, their relationship would be taboo. Still, the Japangardi man chose to pursue the woman, and they went up the hill at Yarripilangu where they made love. The earth there turned to white ochre, and the man turned himself and all of the women into goannas. To this day, white ochre can be found at the top of the hill. The ochre is used for love magic and ceremonial decoration. The groups of women in the story are represented by concentric circles, while the small W shapes you can see surrounding the circles depict the Wardarpi tracks.