Ngatijirri Jukurrpa – Budgerigar Dreaming by Karen Barnes
The Jukurrpa site shown in this painting for Ngatijirri (budgerigar [Melopsittacus undulates]) is at Yangarnmpi, south of Yuendumu. ‘Ngatijirri’ are small, bright green birds native to central Australia which are common around the Yuendumu area, especially after the summer rains. Men would hunt for ‘ngatijirri’ nests, robbing them of eggs and juvenile birds, which are both considered delicacies. The men would also go out hunting for adult, flying ‘ngatijirri’, which they would kill by swinging branches, killing sticks or ‘karli’ (boomerangs) to hit the birds in flight. The ‘ngatijirri’ travelled to Yangarnmpi from Patirlirri, near Willowra to the east of Yuendumu and travelled further on to Marngangi, north/west of Mount Dennison and west of Yuendumu.Each time the flock of ancestral ‘ngatijirri’ lands, they perform ceremonies, singing and dancing as they fly and roost in the trees. After good rains ‘ngatijirri’ can successfully breed several times, resulting in an explosion of the population in a short time. Custodians for the Ngatijirri Jukurrpa are Napaljarri/Nungarrayi women and Japaljarri/Jungarrayi men.
Traditional iconography can be used to depict the sites and birds of this Jukurrpa. the iconography use for the sites and waterholes are concentric circles, while cross-like shapes depict the footprints of the birds on the ground and give an indication of the large flocks of ‘ngatijirri’ that can be found near Yangarnmpi and other sites close to Yuendumu.
In this painting Karen has used a non traditional way of painting the jukurrpa. She has used a more realistic depiction of the birds and a very abstract representation of the landscape and colors.