Kapi Dreaming, Karrinyarra, 2021


  • 91cm x 121.5cm
  • 2021
  • Acrylic on Linen
  • Catalog No: 11734-21

‘My grandfather’s country, my uncle’s country and my mother’s country.  A waterhole ‘Waturlpunya’ in Karrinyarra and a chain of pointy hills, all within one country. I’ve been seeing those hills, part of that country. I only paint this one story. I depict all the woman sitting down, story telling. They’re here with their nulla nullas. This one is another waterhole, there’s lots of food here – bush tomato and other fruit. The women were looking for food that’s in abundance and have collected bush bean. They’ve lived off bush tucker for a long time. They’re sitting at the water’s edge resting after foraging for bush tucker. They’re watching the waterhole and digging for water, collecting it, stooped, with their heads down, seated on the ground. They’ve been living there in a big camp for a long time, in this distant place. A long time ago they camped in another place in Waturlpunyu … a long time before now, around another big waterhole in a water dreaming place. They camped there for some time before they grew up and spread out in many different directions moving to communities like Papunya. Papunya was close by, so they ended up staying there. That’s my uncle and that’s my mother. This is my father’s Tjukurrpa, and Grandfather’s hills in Karrinyarra.’

This painting represents Water Dreaming (also called Kapi, or Ngapa Tjukurrpa), from Karrinyarra and Central Mt Wedge, north of Papunya. The circles are the water holes, and this site is strongly associated with rain making ceremonies.

The Clan Estate or Country known as Karrinyarra lies between Yuendumu to the north, and Papunya to the south. Karrinyarra, also called Central Mt Wedge, actually takes in a wider region that includes much of the Stuart Bluff Range, and is bounded to the west by the Siddeley Range. As with a small number of locations across Central Australia, Karrinyarra is an important hub. It is rich in water, animal and plant resources, and cultural complexity. This Country also represents an important cultural point of intersection, with Warlpiri, Ngalia, Anmatyerr, and Luritja peoples coming together to share in access to the resources, and to take responsibility for the Country and its Law. It therefore has a significant number of Ancestral Tjukurrpa that pass through, or originate from, and reside in this Country many features.

The Ancestral Beings travel from all directions, or arise from the Country itself. Two Men, Two Women, Dancing Women, Rain and Lightning, Goanna, Wild Cat, Wild Dog, Possum, and many, many more including Bush Plum, Bush Onion, Python, Two Snakes, and so on, perpetually participate in animating Country through their Law. These Ancestral Beings meet up with other Ancestral Beings, participate in all the domestic realities of being, participate in ceremony, or simply pass through. Some stop in their travels and remain; others arise out of a particular location and dwell there, or simply wander off. Each bears witness to the activities of the others and themselves and wherever they interact or dwell is recognised as a sacred site, and the entire region of Karrinyarra is thick with sacred places. The Tjukurrpa of Karrinyarra may be held by men or women only, or both men and women may hold together, universally, or through systems of complementarities; each gender group holding a part of the whole Tjukurrpa.

Designs for body paint, expressed through rock art, and held in ceremony, are reproduced by the members of the several clan groups that hold Karrinyarra.