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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 (yankirri) and water (ngapa) jukurrpa.1 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. Darby and his family have the responsibility of the dreaming as it crosses the Warlpiri country. 2

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. 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 often symbolises life. This example is  a screen-print and is the 30th of a limited run of 100.3


1 Note: Artist's file, Aboriginal artists, Curator's Cabinet, University of Canberra

2  Design & Art Australia online, 'Darby Jampijinpa Ross' Design and Art  Australia  Online, Accessed 3rd May 2022,

3 Note: Artist's File Aboriginal Artists, Curator's Cabinet, University of Canberra