Collection: Pauline Nampijinpa Singleton

Born: Alice Springs, NT
Language: Warlpiri
Community: Yuendumu, NT

Pauline Nampijinpa Singleton was born in Alice Springs hospital and grew up in Yuendumu an Aboriginal settlement located 290 kms north west of Alice Springs in the NT of Australia. … After finishing school she moved back to Yuendumu and has been painting with the Warlukurlangu Artists since 1999. Pauline Nampijinpa Singleton paints for the Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation located at the Yuendumu community 300km north-west of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory of Australia. Established in 1985, Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation is a fully Aboriginal owned and governed art centre with over 600 members. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the sale of all art works go directly back to the artists and their community projects.

The art centre is famous for its gloriously colourful acrylic paintings with many of its members work collectable having been featured in hundreds of exhibitions both in Australia and around the world .The art centre is both a stronghold of traditional Warlpiri culture and an essential part of Yuendumu’s community life.

The common brush-tail possum travels all over Warlpiri country. ‘Janganpa’ are nocturnal animals that often nest in the hollows of white gum trees. This story comes from a big hill called Mawurrji, west of Yuendumu. A group of ‘janganpa’ ancestors resided there and every night they would go out in search of food. Their hunting trips took them all over the area.

A Nampijinpa women was living at Mawurrji with her two daughters. She gave her daughters in marriage to a janganpa ancestor but later decided to run away with the girls.The janganpa ancestor angrily pursued the woman tracking them to Mawurrji where he killed them with a stone axe.

Their bodies are now rocks at this place. Warlpiri people perform a young mens initiation ceremony, which involves the brush tail possum dreaming. The possum tracks are represented as ‘E’ shaped figures and concentric circles are used to depict the trees in which the possum live.

This particular site of the Yankirri Jukurrpa (Emu Dreaming) is at Ngarlikurlangu, north of Yuendumu. The emu travelled to the rockhole at Ngarlikurlangu to find water. This dreamtime belongs to Jangala/Jampijinpa men and Nangala /Nampijinpa women. In contemporary warlpiri paintings traditional iconography is used to represent the Jukurrpa, associated sites and other elements. Emus are usually represented by their footprints, arrow like shapes, that show them walking around Ngarlikiurlangu eating bush raisins. In the time of the Dreaming there was a fight at the site between an emu ancestor and an Australian bustard ancestor over sharing the bush raisin. There is also a dance for this Dreaming that is performed during initiation ceremonies.