Kanta Jukurrpa (Bush Coconut Dreaming) – Purturlu

This painting depicts a ‘kanta Jukurrpa’ (bush coconut Dreaming). This Jukurrpa travels from west to east; it stops in Karrirdi (a hill and water soakage), Purturlu (Mount Theo, approximately 150kms north-northwest of Yuendumu), and Puwarripuwarri (a hill and water soakage), among other places. The ‘kirda’ (owners) of this Jukurrpa are Napangardi/Napanangka women and Japanangka/Japangardi men.

This painting depicts the portion of the Jukurrpa that is associated with Purturlu. A number of other Dreamings are also located in, or pass through, Purturlu; these include ‘wakurlpirri Jukurrpa’ (Dogwood tree Dreaming), ‘ngalyipi Jukurrpa’ (snakevine [Tinospora smilacina] Dreaming), and ‘wardapi Jukurrpa’ (goanna Jukurrpa).

‘Kanta’ (bush coconut) are insect galls that grow only on ‘wurrkali’ (bloodwood [Eucalyptus terminalis]) trees. People knock the galls off the trees with sticks or stones and crack open their hard shells. Inside is soft white edible flesh, like coconut; an edible yellow grub called ‘warnparnpi’ [Cystococcus pomiformis], and some sweet liquid. There might also be tiny edible insects inside which are called ‘wangarla.’ The ‘wangarla’ eventually grow into winged insects and fly away. You can tell if a ‘kanta’ is good to eat if it is white, meaning that it is fresh, and by looking to see if it has a little black “eye” on it. This black “eye” is the tail of the ‘warnparnpi’ grub blocking up the entrance to the ‘kanta.’ If there’s no black eye showing, then the ‘kanta’ is empty and there is nothing left to eat in it. Napangardi and Napanangka women traditionally collected ‘kanta’ at Purturlu.

In contemporary Warlpiri paintings, traditional iconography can be used to represent the Jukurrpa, particular sites, and other elements. In paintings of this Jukurrpa, circles are used to represent the ‘kanta,’ while concentric circles depict the sites where the women go to gather it. The Napangardi and Napanangka women gathering the ‘kanta’ are depicted as U shapes.