30 x 30 cm: acrylic on canvas
Paji is a soak and hill located east of Nyayartakujarra (Lake Dora). Paji features as an important site in Jila Kujarra (Two Snakes) one of the key Jukurrpa (Dreaming) narratives for the Martu. Though the story belongs to Warnman people, it is shared across the Western Desert with several other language groups. The narrative centres on the travels of two snakes as they are pursued by the Niminjarra, spiritual ancestors of the Warnman people.
The Jila Kujarra were chased by the Niminjarra to Paji. The Niminjarra believed the snakes had hidden in a cave north of Paji, and tried to smoke them out. Here the Jila Kujarra eluded their pursuers by escaping under the lake at Paji and at the same time creating many small decoy snakes to lead the Niminjarra astray. Meanwhile, from a nearby hill, two Pukurti (initiates with bundled hair) prophesied that the Niminjarra would kill the Jila Kujarra. The Pukurti tracked the Jila Kujarra through to Nyayartakujarra, where they speared the snakes in the head to hold them down while they returned to Paji to summon the Niminjarra. The Niminjarra made a fire and cooked the snakes at the site of Kumpupirntily (Kumpupintily, Lake Disappointment), but when the Niminjarra cut down the length of the Jila Kujarra, the snake’s bladders were pierced, causing an explosion of scalding hot urine in which the Niminjarra all perished and became black rocks at the site. At the same time, the urine of the Jila Kujarra formed the vast salt lake, Kumpupirntily, which translates to ‘bladder burst’. The spirits of the Jila Kujarra rose and continued to travel to their mother at Nyayartakujarra, where they remain to this day.
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Martumili Artists acknowledges the Nyiyaparli and Martu people as the Traditional Owners of the land we live and work on. We also acknowledge the Traditional Owners throughout our country and our Elders; past, present and emerging.