Abroriginal Artist - Valerie Napurrurla Morris (Budgerigar Dreaming)

Acrylic Paint
122cm (W) x 91cm (H) x 2cm (D)
By Catherine Jaktman - Curator Featured

Canberra, Australia

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Ngatijirri Jukurrpa (Budgerigar Dreaming)

Catalog Number: 124/15ny


The Jukurrpa site shown in this painting for Ngatijirri (budgerigar [Melopsittacus undulates]) is at Yangarnmpi, south of Yuendumu. ‘Ngatijirri’ are small, bright green birds native to central Australia which are common around the Yuendumu area, especially after the summer rains. Men would hunt for ‘ngatijirri’ nests, robbing them of eggs and juvenile birds, which are both considered delicacies. The men would also go out hunting for adult, flying ‘ngatijirri’, which they would kill by swinging branches, killing sticks or ‘karli’ (boomerangs) to hit the birds in flight. The ‘ngatijirri’ travelled to Yangarnmpi from Patirlirri, near Willowra to the east of Yuendumu and travelled further on to Marngangi, north/west of Mount Dennison and west of Yuendumu. Each time the flock of ancestral ‘ngatijirri’ lands, they perform ceremonies, singing and dancing as they fly and roost in the trees. The sites of these ceremonies are depicted in this painting as concentric circles, while cross-like shapes depict the footprints of the birds on the ground and give an indication of the large flocks of ‘ngatijirri’ that can be found near Yangarnmpi and other sites close to Yuendumu. After good rains ‘ngatijirri’ can successfully breed several times, resulting in an explosion of the population in a short time. Custodians for the Ngatijirri Jukurrpa are Napaljarri/Nungarrayi women and Japaljarri/Jungarrayi men.


Valerie Napurrurla Morris was born in 1942 on Mount Doreen, an extensive cattle breeding station between Yuendumu, a remote Aboriginal community located 290 km north-west of Alice Springs in the NT of Australia, and Nyirripi, 160 km further west. She went to the local school in Yuendumu and when she finished schooling she got a domestic job cleaning houses – “learning from white fella”! She married Mosquito Morris and has two children, a daughter and son. She has many grandchildren and great grandchildren. Valerie currently lives in Nyirripi but has family living in Yuendumu, Papunya and Kintore. Valerie has been painting with Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation, an Aboriginal owned and governed art centre located in Yuendumu, since 2007. She started painting when she saw her big sisters paintings. Her sister’s taught her her Dreaming. Valerie paints Janganpa Jukurrpa (Brush-tail Possum Dreaming), and Mukakee Jukurrpa (Bush Plum Dreaming), Dreaming which relates directly to her land, its features and animals. When she’s not painting, she loves to go hunting and ‘exercising’ chasing goannas and digging for honey ants and witchetty grubs.

Artwork is accompanied by Warlukurlangu Artists (Yuendumu) Art Centre Certificate of Authenticity/Provenance.




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