Witi (Witi Dreaming)

Japaljarri and Jungarrayi men travelled from Kurlurnalinypa (near Lajamanu) to Yanjirlpiri (west of Yuendumu) and then on to Lake Mackay. On the way they performed Kurdiji (initiation ceremonies) for young men. Women also danced for the Kurdiji. The site depicted in this canvas is Yanjirlpiri, which means “star” in Warlpiri. There are low hills here which are stars come down to rest on the earth, and a water soakage. The importance of this place can not be overemphasised as young boys are brought here to be initiated from as far as Pitjantajara country to the south and Lajamanu to the north. The men wear jinjirla (white feathers) on either side of their head during the Kurdiji. They also wear wooden carvings of stars which are laid out on the ground as part of the sand paintings produced for ceremony (kurlkurlpa). Ngalyipi (snake vine) is used to tie witi (ceremonial spears) vertically to the shins of dancing initiates. These witi are shown as long straight lines, stars are the white circles; dancing sites, hills and soakages are represented by concentric circles.