Karnta Jukurrpa (Womens Dreaming)

This painting depicts Nakamarra and Napurrurla women hunting for bush foods. The ‘kirda’ (owners) for this story are Nakamarra/Napurrurla women and Jakamarra/Jupurrurla men. Yumurrpa and Wapurtali are two major Dreaming sites owned by the Nakamarra/Jakamarra and Napurrurla/Jupurrurla subsections; these sites are also associated with bush food Dreamings. Yumurrpa is a major waterhole to the northwest of Yuendumu and a ‘yarla’ (bush potato [Ipomea costata]) Dreaming site. The area north of Wapurtali/Yintaramurru (Mt. Singleton) is a ‘wanakiji’ (bush tomato [Solanum chippendalei]) Dreaming site.

Warlpiri women hunt for a number of different bush foods at different times of the year. These include ‘ngarlkirdi’ (witchetty grubs [Endoxyla leucomochla larvae]), ‘yunkaranyi’ (honey ants [Camponotus inflatus]), ‘jintiparnta’ and ‘purlantarri’ (desert truffle [Elderia arenivaga]), ‘yuparli’ (bush bananas [Marsdenia australis]), ‘janmarda’ (bush onions [Cyperus bulbosus]), ‘pirlala’ (bush beans [Acacia coriacea seeds]), ‘ngarlajiyi’ (bush carrots [Vigna lanceolata]), ‘wayipi’ (small bush carrots [Boerhavia diffusa]), and ‘yakajirri’ (bush raisins [Solanum centrale]). Women traditionally dug for these foods using wooden ‘karlangu’ (digging sticks). The end of the digging sticks were charred and ground on a stone surface to create a bevelled edge. Today many Warlpiri women use crowbars (also called ‘karlangu’) to dig for bush foods. Collected bush foods are traditionally carried in ‘parraja’ (coolamons), which can be carried with a strap made from the ‘ngalyipi’ (snake vine [Tinospora smilacina]).

In Warlpiri paintings, traditional iconography is used to represent the Jukurrpa and other elements. Concentric circles are often used to represent the bush foods that the women have collected, while straight lines can be used to depict the ‘karlangu’ (digging sticks). Sinuous lines are often used to represent the ‘ngalyipi’ (snake vine).