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Darby Jampijimpa Ross: Emu & Water Jukurrpa

Darby Jampijimpa Ross, Emu and Water Jukurrpa

Emu and water Jukurrpa by Darby Jampijimpa Ross

Ross’ painting depicts his interpretation of an emu and water jukurrpa. His country lies to the north of Yuendumu and his totems were emu and bandicoot. This painting represents the emu, one of Darby’s totems and the water, which is a sacred part of the landscape. The emu and the water it is drinking are both part of the jukurrpa, which can be translated as the ‘dreaming’ or creation period.

The painting represents the creation period through the eyes of Darby Jampijimpa Ross, and what he identifies as the story of the history of his people. During the Jukurrpa, ancestral beings in the form of both human and animals move across the desert singing, marrying and fighting. As these ancestral beings travelled across the landscape, they created features of the land that are quite prevalent today, including water, plants and animals, people, language and ceremonies.

The Emu is depicted as being a sacred feature of the landscape, due to its size within the painting. The Jukurrpa is an important aspect of Aboriginal culture, signifying the creation of the landscape and other aspects of daily life. The colours used within the painting signify the earth, and the water is a particularly important element of the painting that symbolises life.