New Works


23-288 – Nancy Chapman, Mayika Chapman


1 in stock

Nancy Chapman, Mayika Chapman

76 x 121 cm: acrylic on canvas
Year: 2023

Nyayartakujarra (Ngayarta Kujarra, Lake Dora)

“This painting shows Nyayartakujarra (Lake Dora) and the waterholes. In pujiman (traditional, desert dwelling) days we all walked from waterhole to waterhole. We were travelling around for a long time; we were all naked! We grew up walking all around these waterholes. This painting is a map from that time. All of these waterholes are still here, with all of the songs and all of the dances. We are still singing and dancing for this Country.”

 – Mantararr (Muntararr) Rosie Williams (dec.), Jakayu Biljabu, Yikartu Bumba, Nyanjilpayi (Ngarnjapayi) Nancy Chapman, Mulyatingki Marney, Mayiwalku May Chapman, and Reena Rogers

Nyayartakujarra is a vast and culturally significant salt lake located in the north east section of the Karlamilyi River region. Surrounding Nyayartakujarra are numerous fresh water soaks and the red tali (sandhills) typical of the area. Punmu Aboriginal Community, where Nyanjilpayi lives today, lies on the eastern edge of the lake. Nyayartakujarra lies within Nyanjilpayi’s ngurra (home Country, camp), the area which she knew intimately and travelled extensively with her family in her youth. 

Nyayartakujarra is an important site in the Jila Kujarra (Two Snakes) Jukurrpa (Dreaming) narrative. 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.

Before transforming themselves into snakes, the Jila Kujarra were young brothers. As snakes, they began travelling home to their mother, but were intercepted by the Niminjarra, who tracked the Jila Kujarra to Paji, east of Nyayartakujarra. Here they eluded the Niminjarra, but the Jila Kujarra were soon after speared and injured at Nyayartakujarra by two Pukurti (initiates with bundled hair), who returned with the Niminjarra to cook the snakes at the site of Kumpupirntily (Kumpupintily, Lake Disappointment). As 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 lake at Kumpupirntily, which translates to ‘bladder burst’. The spirits of the Jila Kujarra returned to their mother at Nyayartakujarra, where the mother and her sons entered the ground below the lake and 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.