Wapurtarli - Little Bush Potato by Liddy Nelson Nakamarra
This is an important Jukurrpa (Dreaming) performed ritually in ceremony by men and women of the Nakamarra, Jakamarra, Jupurrurla and Napurrurla skin groups. The song is closely associated with Yilpinji songs among these skin groups. The bush potato is a major food source and a very important Dreaming for the Warlpiri people. This print and Liddy’s other Bush Potato etching titled Yumurpa tell the story of two important sites in Warlpiri country. The story tells of a big fight among men and how the women help settle the fight and restore harmony to the tribe. It is a morality tale that dictates Warlpiri behaviour and obligations toward one another and the language group. This harmony is exemplified by how the two types of tucker now grow on the bush potato plant. These are Wapurtarli (the little potato) and Yumurrpa (the big potato). Women (U shapes) are shown digging for yam with their coolamon dishes and digging sticks. They bring little bush potatoes to the others. The bush potato plant is shown with its roots extending outwards.
This is one of 28 prints included in the exhibition Yilpinji, Love Magic & Ceremony that toured throughout Australia and internationally. This is the first time in the history of Aboriginal printmaking that a body of prints became available that focused on a unique aspect of Aboriginal culture. Fifteen senior Aboriginal artists have each created a thematic work on Yilpinji, the love magic practised by the Warlpiri and Kukatja people of the central and western deserts of Australia. This little-known aspect of Aboriginal culture is explored in this important body of etchings, screenprints and linocuts.
This print and the other 27 showing in the exhibition are graphically illustrated with accompanying text in the book, Yilpinji Love Art & Ceremony, written by Christine Nicholls, senior lecturer, Flinders University.
This is an original, limited-edition etching created by the artist on a metal plate and printed by master printmaker Basil Hall on 350gsm Hahnemuhle archival paper.
- Medium: etching - sugar lift painting, aquatint and a la poupée inking on one plate
- Image size: 49cm x 33cm
- Paper size: 76cm x 56cm
- Edition size: 99
“Liddy Nelson Nakamarra began painting in 1986. Using large, expressive, iconographic forms in bright colours, she depicts subjects from her Dreamings, such as small snake, yam dreaming and bush grapes. Her works express an unrestrained quality that is typical of the style of artists from her community in Lajamanu, in the southwest of the Northern Territory. Her brother is the artist Michael Nelson Jagamarra Nelson.” Christine Nicholls, Senior Lecturer, Flinders University
Image size: 49cm x 33cm
Paper size: 76cm x 56cm