Snake Dreaming - 91cm x 107cm

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Artist: Roschelle Nampijinpa Major

Medium: Acrylic on canvas

Size: 91cm x 107cm

The place depicted in this painting, Ngama, is located south of Yuendumu in the Northern Territory. This Dreaming belongs to Nakamarra/Napurrurla women and Jakamarra/Jupurrurla men. This story describes the journey of Yarripiri, an ancestral ‘warna’ (snake). He travelled from Wirnparrku near Mt. Liebig to Yimparlu, and continued its way through the territories of Ngapanangka-jarra, Warlajirryi, Kurnmundu, Yinyirrinyi on to Ngama. Later Yarripiri travelled further north via Mijirlparnta (Mission Creek) and right through to the top end of Australia.Yarripiri was very sad as his family had left him behind at Wirnparrku. He was blind and crippled but he was determined to follow and search them out. He had to be carried. This was the job undertaken by the ‘kurdungurlu’ (ceremonial police) of the Dreaming: the Nangala/Nampijinpa women and Jangala/Jampijinpa men. Where Yarripiri’s tail slumped and touched the ground creeks were formed, such as Mijirlparnta, west of Yuendumu. Yarripiri tracks and paths are often represented by arc shapes or curved lines depicted across the canvas.

Rochelle Nampijinpa Major was born in Alice Springs Hospital, the closest hospital to Kintore, a small Aboriginal community located 550 km west of Alice Springs, and 127 km SW of Nyirripi. She is the daughter of Shiela Nunagarri Dixon and Riley Jangala Major. Rochelle grew up in Kintore and attended the local school.  When she finished school, she worked for the Kintore Shire Council. She now livesin Nyirripi with her partner Junior Sims and together they have three children.

Rochell began painting in 2017. She paints her grandmother’s Warna Jukurrpa (Snake Dreaming). Rochell learnt to paint from watching her late grandmother paint, “My grandmother taught me to paint. I always hear my grandmother talk, telling me about the skin names and the stories she painted.” These stories relate directly to her land, its features and the plants and animals that inhabit it. They have been passed down over thousands of years.

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