Yuwarri Jukurrpa - Milky Way Dreaming

Paddy Japaljarri SIMS: artist

Not On Display

About the work

Paddy Tjapaltjarri Sims was born around 1917 at a place called Kunjarrayi or Mt Nicker in the Northern Territory. Sims was very important in the development of art from the Yuendumu Community in the 1980's. In 1983 a group of five artists including Paddy Sims painted their Tjukurrpa (Dreamings) onto 30 doors at Yuendumu School. These paintings expressed detailed knowledge of their traditional lands. For many years these lands were not accessible to the artists and their families as the rightful custodians. The paintings at Yuendumu School passed on important information to the children and were a celebration of independence and ownership for the Warlpiri and Anmetyarre people of the Western Desert.

The painting Yiwarra Jukurrpa tells the story of the Milky Way Dreaming where Sims's ancestors fell out of the sky onto the earth. These ancestors performed the original initiation ceremonies for young men of that area. Some of the stars that fell from the sky were collected by two Ancestral Beings Jakamarra and Jupurrula, placed on a ceremonial pole represented by the thick black line running through the painting and carried west. The two men lifted the pole up above their heads and placed the stars back into the sky. Sims is one of the last men who knows the song cycle for the Yiwarra Jukurrpa ceremony where a large stick is carried by the elder performers to symbolise the large black stick that the stars were carried upon.

Yiwarra Jukurrpa (Milky Way Dreaming) belongs to the artist's Dreaming. Japaljarri's ancestors carried their Milky Way sticks during the day as they travelled west through Yanjinpiri (Mount Pinnacle). One day the Milky Way fell from the sky and Jakamarra and Jupurrula (guardians of the Dreaming) worked all afternoon to restore the fragments. A Milky Way dance is performed by the old men when they carry ceremonial poles for their ancenstors. The pole is representd by the black horozontal bar in the upper part of the painting. The three black small arches just above denote Japaljarri and jungurrayi. The stars of the Milky Way are indicated by the small circular shapes scattered throgh the painting.
Yuwarri Jukurrpa - Milky Way Dreaming
Artist/Maker and role
Paddy Japaljarri SIMS: artist
synthetic polymer paint on canvas
118.5 x 236 cm
Credit line
Purchased 1992
The State Art Collection, The Art Gallery of Western Australia
Accession number

This is one of the paintings in our collection.


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