Purrpalanji (Skinny Bush Banana) Jukurrpa
This artwork was painted by Nola Napangardi Fisher. ‘Purrpalanji’ (skinny bush banana [Rhyncharrhena linearis]) is a twining climber with thin leaves and pink-brown flowers. Its bean-like edible pods are long and skinny, and can grow up to 20 cm long. It is fire tolerant and grows quickly whenever moisture is available. Like ‘yuparli’ (bush banana [Marsdenia australis]), all of the plant is eaten aside from the woody stems.
This ‘purrpalanji Jukurrpa’ (skinny bush banana Dreaming) comes from Pikilyi (Vaughan Springs), a large waterhole and natural spring to the west of Yuendumu, close to Mount Doreen. Napangardi/Napanangka women and Japangardi/Japanangka men are the ‘kirda’ (owners) of the skinny bush banana Dreaming at Pikilyi. Nangala women and Jangala men are the ‘kurdungurlu’ (custodians) of this Dreaming.
Napangardi and Napanangka women collect ‘purrpalanji’ (skinny bush banana) and ‘yuparli’ (bush banana) around Pikilyi in their ‘parraja’ (coolamons). They cook the ‘purrpalanji’ and ‘yuparli’ in hot ashes to get rid of the acidic taste they can have when eaten raw. The skinny bush banana Dreaming is only associated with Pikilyi, and does not travel to other locations. Pikilyi is an important site associated with a number of different Dreamings. These include ‘yuparli Jukurrpa’ (bush banana Dreaming), ‘warrilyi ngurlu Jukurrpa’ (blue mallee [Eucalyptus polybractea] seed Dreaming), ‘kakalyalya Jukurrpa’ (cockatoo Dreaming), and ‘warna-jarra Jukurrpa’ (two snakes Dreaming). In the two snakes Dreaming story, Napangardi and Napanangka women picked lice off of the two snakes living in the waterhole at Pikilyi.
In Warlpiri paintings, traditional iconography is used to represent the Jukurrpa and other elements. Curved lines are used to represent the long, skinny edible portion of the ‘purrpalanji’ (skinny bush banana).