Yanjirlpirri Jukurrpa (Star Dreaming)
Yanjirlypirri is the Warlpiri name for stars and also a small hill to the west of Yuendumu, where there is a water soakage. The importance of this place cannot be overemphasized as young boys are brought here to be initiated from as far as Pitjanjatjara country to the south and Lajamanu to the north. This painting tells of the journey of Japaljarri and Jungarrayi men who travelled from Kurlurngalinypa (near Lajamanu) to Yanjirlypirri, and then on to Lake Mackay on the West Australian border. Along the way they performed ‘kurdiji’ (initiation ceremonies) for young men. Napaljarri and Nungarrayi women also danced for the ‘kurdiji’.
In contemporary Warlpiri paintings traditional iconography is used to represent the Jukurrpa, particular sites and other elements. During the performance of this ceremony the men wear ‘jinjirla’ (white feather headdresses) on either side of their heads. They also wear wooden carvings of stars which are also laid out on the ground as part of the sand paintings produced for business. ‘Ngalyipi’ (snake vine), is often depicted as long curved lines and is used to tie ‘witi’ (ceremonial spears) vertically to the shins of the dancing initiates. These ‘witi’ are typically shown as long straight lines and the ‘yanjirlpirri’ (stars) are usually depicted as white circles or roundels.