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#38 Water Dreaming - Ngapa (Earth)- JANET LONG NAKAMARRA: Aboriginal Art: 85x200cm

AUD $3,300.00

TITLE: Ngapa - Water Dreaming
ARTIST:  Janet Nakamarra Long
LANGUAGE: Walpiri 
REGION: Willowra - Tanami Desert 
PAINTING: Acrylic on canvas

*All paintings come with a Certificate of Authenticity and are signed by the artist*

Ngapa – Water Dreaming: -
“This is about the underground water of a place called Warntaparri.  The circles represent the waterholes where the old people used to dig for water (ngapa) where they used to walk around that area.  They used to walk around with the wooden bowl (coolamon) and dig then fill with clean water when they needed it.  Then they would cover up the waterholes with branches, sticks, leaves, and grasses on top as well as charcoal to make it clear.  Then they would come back the next day and the water in the waterhole would be very clean. When the waterhole dried up, they would move on to the next one and gather their water there.  Water is very important when there is no tap – it is the most important thing of all.
Seeds show where the underground water creek bed is and where the water flows after the rains. The seeds represent the foods that grow in the area and where to dig up water and clean it and drink it here in the past, today and forever”

Janet was born in 1960 at Anninie in the traditional land of her people, Warntaparri. She lived a traditional life with her family and her Aunts May and Molly Napurulla showing her how to paint the traditional body paint designs for her Warntaparri Dreaming.

Through hard work and study, Janet gained the status of Linguist with her people and began to teach as a literacy worker at the Willowra School. She produced bi-lingual literature for use in the teaching program. Although she has lived all her life in Willowra her linguist talents led her to many contacts with the rest of Australia. When Vivien Johnson began to write her book “Aboriginal Artists of the Western Desert” it was Janet she approached to do the transaction and correct any terms that were in the book.

In 1989 she began to paint her designs and Dreamings on small boards when the local store at Willowra began supplying canvas and paints to the locals Aboriginal Artists. When her brother Malcolm Jagamarra saw her taking an interest in painting he taught her how to use the medium of acrylics on canvas. She saw this as a way of teaching people about her culture and the world as a whole.

She uses her deep knowledge of her talents as a linguist and translates her Dreamings onto canvas in a way that no other artist is able to achieve. Her paintings have many small details in them that tell a story as a whole. The story that she writes for the paintings is as fascinating as the painting itself. These stories tell of the mythology and religion of her people in a way that any outsider can understand and learn from. Although she is a relative newcomer to the world as an artist, her work is gaining rapid recognition. She has exhibited at the Parker Gallery in Sydney, Jinta Desert Art in Sydney, and the Fireworks Gallery in Brisbane. She recently featured in a group exhibition at Wagner Gallery Hong Kong. With the interests that her work has developed, it will not be long before she is featured in many private and public collections around the world


  • 1998, "Out of Australia", Lui Hai-Su National Art Museum, Shanghai, China
  • Holdsworth Gallery, Sydney
  • Fireworks Gallery, Brisbane
  • Wagner Gallery, Hong Kong
  • 1999, United Nations, New York, USA


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