Pamapardu Jukurrpa (Flying Ant Dreaming) – Winkie Spencer, 2017


  • 56.5cm x 56.5cm
  • 2017
  • Acrylic On Linen
  • Catalog No: 1161-8387-17

This painting depicts the Pamapardu Jukurrpa (Flying Ant Dreaming) from Wapurtali, west of Yuendumu. ‘Pamapardu’ is the Warlpiri name for the flying ants or termites that build the large anthills found throughout Warlpiri country. Pamapardu build earth mounds called Mingkirri that are common in the Tanami area. When heavy rains come in summer the mingkirri are flooded out, so the Pamapardu emerge from their nests/mounds with wings and, following their Queens, who fly off to make new homes in dry mounds or to build anew. The wings are subsequently discarded when the ants when they have found their new home. The ant grubs are eaten by goannas and are also collected by women, using fighting sticks to smash the nests, for human consumption. In this stage they can be lightly cooked in coals and eaten. They are nice and sweet. In contemporary Warlpiri paintings traditional iconography is used to represent the Jukurrpa, particular sites and other elements. When this Jukurrpa story is painted concentric circles are used to represent the ‘mingkirri’ and the rockholes involved in the story, including the central one at Wapurtali [Mt Singleton]. Dashes are often depicted around the circles to represent the Pamapardu.
The Jukurrpa travels west from Alyewarre and Anmatyarr country. When it reaches Warlpiri country it is first carried by Jangala/Jampijinpa mens’ and Nangala/Nampijinpa womens’ sections, before passing on to the Jakamarra/Jupurrurla men and Nakamarra/Napurrurla women. The country of this painting is Yilkirri, near Wapurtali (Mt. Singleton area). Depiction of the Dreaming is distinctive in the pairs of marks representing the termite wings.