Le peuple Walrlpiri fait partie de l’une des plus grandes communautés Aborigène du nord de l’Australie. La plupart vivent à Yuendumu, ville reculée, à 293 km de Alice Springs, bordée par le désert de Tanami. Terre ancestrale pour nombreux de ses habitants, elle est la source de nombreuses « dreamings stories », histoires sacrées relatant le temps de la création et illustrées par la peinture.

« Warlpiri Tucker » décrit un rêve impalpable illustrant une terre originelle qui reprend vit par la peinture aborigène.

Par ce reportage, j’ai voulu apposer le réel du spectre photographique à l’abstrait de l’art aborigène qui donne à l’environnement tout un sens.

Il illustre une médecine imaginaire permettant à maintenir dans le temps un souvenir d'une terre qui peine à exister.


The Walrlpiri people are part of one of the largest Aboriginal communities in northern Australia. Most live in Yuendumu, a remote town, 293 km from Alice Springs, bordered by the Tanami Desert. Ancestral land for many of its inhabitants, it is the source of many « dreaming stories », sacred stories recounting the time of creation and illustrated by painting.

« Warlpiri Tucker » describes an impalpable dream depicting an original land that resumes life through Aboriginal painting.

Through this documentary, I wanted to put the real of the photographic spectrum in front of the abstract of Aboriginal art that gives to the environment whole the meaning. It illustrates an imaginary medicine helping to keep in time a memory of a land that is struggling to exist.


All videos representing aboriginal art were taken at Warlukurlangu art center , a not-for-profit organization, established in 1985 for the promotion of aboriginal art within Yuendumu's community. Special thanks to Cecilia Alfonso. See more there : https://warlu.com

Steven Jupurrurla Nelson is painting ‘janganpa Jukurrpa’ (brush-tail possum Dreaming).


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Steven Jupurrurla Nelson was born 30 August 1978 in Alice Springs, NT.


He typically paints ‘janganpa Jukurrpa’ (brush-tail possum Dreaming) from his mother’s side. 

Janganpa Jukurrpa (common brush-tail possum [Trichosurus vulpecula] Dreaming) travels all over Warlpiri country. ‘Janganpa’ are nocturnal animals that often nest in the hollows of white gum trees (‘wapunungka’). 

This story comes from a big hill called Mawurrji, west of Yuendumu and north of Pikilyi (Vaughan Springs). A group of ‘janganpa’ ancestors resided there. Every night they would go out in search of food. Their hunting trips took them to Wirlki and Wanapirdi, where they found ‘pamapardu’ (flying ants). They journeyed on to Ngarlkirdipini looking for water. 


A Nampijinpa women was living at Mawurrji with her two daughters. She gave her daughters in marriage to a Jupurrurla ‘janganpa’ but later decided to run away with them. The Jupurrurla angrily pursued the woman. He tracked them to Mawurrji where he killed them with a stone axe. Their bodies are now rocks at this place. Warlpiri people perform a young men’s initiation ceremony, which involves the Janganpa Jukurrpa. The Janganpa Jukurrpa belongs to Jakamarra/Jupurrurla men and Nakamarra/Napurrurla women. 


In Warlpiri paintings traditional iconography is used to represent this Jukurrpa. ‘Janganpa’ tracks are often represented as ‘E’ shaped figures and concentric circles are used to depict the trees in which the ‘janganpa’ live, and also the sites at Mawurrji. 


Text by Warlukurlangu Art Center

Sarah Napurrurla Leo is painting Ngapa Jukurrpa (Water Dreaming).

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Sarah Napurrurla Leo was born in 1971 on Napperby Station, an area located 122 km north of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory of Australia.


The site depicted in this painting is Puyurru, west of Yuendumu. In the usually dry creek beds are ‘mulju’ (soakages), or naturally occurring wells. The ‘kirda’ (owners) for this site are Nangala/Nampijinpa women and Jangala/Jampijinpa men. Two Jangala men, rainmakers, sang the rain, unleashing a giant storm. The storm travelled across the country from the east to the west, initially travelling with a ‘pamapardu Jukurrpa’ (termite Dreaming) from Warntungurru to Warlura, a waterhole 8 miles east of Yuendumu. At Warlura, a gecko called Yumariyumari blew the storm on to Lapurrukurra and Wilpiri. Bolts of lightning shot out at Wirnpa (also called Mardinymardinypa) and at Kanaralji. At this point the Dreaming track also includes the ‘kurdukurdu mangkurdu Jukurrpa’ (children of the clouds Dreaming). The water Dreaming built hills at Ngamangama using baby clouds and also stuck long pointy clouds into the ground at Jukajuka, where they can still be seen today as rock formations.


The termite Dreaming eventually continued west to Nyirripi, a community approximately 160 km west of Yuendumu. The water Dreaming then travelled from the south over Mikanji, a watercourse with soakages northwest of Yuendumu. At Mikanji, the storm was picked up by a ‘kirrkarlanji’ (brown falcon [Falco berigora]) and taken farther north. At Puyurru, the falcon dug up a giant ‘warnayarra’ (rainbow serpent). The serpent carried water with it to create another large lake, Jillyiumpa, close to an outstation in this country. The ‘kirda’ (owners) of this story are Jangala men and Nangala women. After stopping at Puyurru, the water Dreaming travelled on through other locations including Yalyarilalku, Mikilyparnta, Katalpi, Lungkardajarra, Jirawarnpa, Kamira, Yurrunjuku, and Jikaya before moving on into Gurindji country to the north.


In contemporary Warlpiri paintings, traditional iconography is used to represent the ‘Jukurrpa’ (Dreaming). Short dashes are often used to represent ‘mangkurdu’ (cumulus & stratocumulus clouds), and longer, flowing lines represent ‘ngawarra’ (flood waters). Small circles are used to depict ‘mulju’ (soakages) and river bed.


Text by Warlukurlangu Art Center

Fire for cooking kangaroo tail. Yuendumu, Northern Territory, Australia

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Sarah Napurrurla Leo is painting Ngapa Jukurrpa (Water Dreaming).

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Wild Horses. Northern Territory, Australia

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Valda Napangardi Granites is painting Mina Mina Jukurrpa (Mina Mina Dreaming).

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Valda was born in 1974 in Alice Springs and grew up in Yuendumu.


This ‘Jukurrpa’ (Dreaming) comes from Mina Mina, a very important women’s Dreaming site far to the west of Yuendumu near Lake Mackay and the WA border. The ‘kirda’ (owners) of this Dreaming are Napangardi/Napanangka women and Japangardi/Japanangka men; the area is sacred to Napangardi and Napanangka women. There are a number of ‘mulju’ (water soakages) and a ‘maluri’ (clay pan) at Mina Mina.


In the Dreamtime, ancestral women danced at Mina Mina and ‘karlangu’ (digging sticks) rose up out of the ground. The women collected the digging sticks and then travelled on to the east, dancing, digging for bush tucker, collecting ‘ngalyipi’ (snake vine [Tinospora smilacina]), and creating many places as they went. ‘Ngalyipi’ is a rope-like creeper that grows up the trunks and limbs of trees, including ‘kurrkara’ (desert oak [Allocasuarina decaisneana]). It is used as a ceremonial wrap and as a strap to carry ‘parraja’ (coolamons) and ‘ngami’ (water carriers). ‘Ngalyipi’ is also used to tie around the forehead to cure headaches, and to bind cuts.


The women stopped at Karntakurlangu, Janyinki, Parapurnta, Kimayi, and Munyuparntiparnti, sites spanning from the west to the east of Yuendumu. When they stopped, the women dug for bush foods like ‘jintiparnta’ (desert truffle [Elderia arenivaga]). The Dreaming track eventually took them far beyond Warlpiri country. The track passed through Coniston in Anmatyerre country to the east, and then went on to Alcoota and Aileron far to the northeast of Yuendumu and eventually on into Queensland.


In Warlpiri paintings, traditional iconography is used to represent the Jukurrpa and other elements. In many paintings of this Jukurrpa, sinuous lines are used to represent the ‘ngalyipi’ (snake vine). Concentric circles are often used to represent the ‘jintiparnta’ (desert truffles) that the women have collected, while straight lines can be used to depict the ‘karlangu’ (digging sticks).


Text by Warlukurlangu Art Center

Steven Jupurrurla Nelson is painting ‘janganpa Jukurrpa’ (brush-tail possum Dreaming).

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