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Big W partners with Warlpiri artists

[by Lauren Graham]

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Lisa Martin in the studio. Image: supplied

This Christmas, BIG W is inviting customers to join in acknowledging Australia’s First Nations peoples and their continuing connections to land, waters and communities, with its Warnayaka Collection of Christmas Baubles.

 

Created in partnership with artists from the Warnayaka Art and Cultural Centre in Lajamanu, Northern Territory, the collection of eight limited-edition baubles depicts Jukurrpa, or Dreamtime, featuring Australian landscapes, flora and fauna. Royalties from sales of the baubles will directly benefit local artists in Lajamanu and their community.

 

Lajamanu is halfway between Alice Springs and Darwin with a population of around 900 Warlpiri people. The Warnayaka Art & Culture Centre has a long history in the community, set up to support the development of local artists’ careers, while also providing services including English literacy and computer skills to foster confidence in the workplace. 

 

Jackson August, Manager Warnayaka Art & Culture Centre said: “We are delighted to partner with BIG W to bring the stories of our community to all Australians. This initiative is particularly special as it acknowledges art made in Lajamanu, featuring everyday artists in the community rather than well-known artists. 

 

“The Warnayaka Collection of Christmas Baubles means so much to our entire community, not just the artists featured, but also their families who have passed down stories of the Dreamtime, while inspiring other artists to continue making their art and sharing their stories. Royalties from the partnership will prove particularly meaningful this Christmas, providing a bright spot to many households.”

 

BIG W’s Head of Commercial - Home & Everyday, Shane Carter said: “We are proud to be helping to shine a spotlight on the artwork of First Nations people and the remote community of Lajamanu this Christmas, through the Warnayaka Collection of Christmas Baubles. 

 

“This partnership not only provides support to the remote community of Lajamanu, but helps to build awareness and appreciation for their art and the culture of the Warlpiri people. We encourage customers to join us in acknowledging the traditional owners of our land by bringing their stories into homes this Christmas.”

 

The baubles in the Warnayaka Collection include:

  • Bush Flower Dreaming – This dreaming is about the bush flowers that grow around Lajamanu. It tells the stories of flowers that grow at different times of the year and in special places. The women look for flowers in bloom so they know where to find fruit later in the season.

  • Seed & Sand Snakes Dreaming - This Dreaming belongs to Jakamarra, Jupurrurla, Nakamarra and Napurrurla people. The part of the dreaming depicted in this painting is about a sand snake (Warlpiri: Pirinpirapirinpira) that moves along through seeds that have fallen from grasses onto the ground. The dreaming belongs to Miyamiya country in the Tanami Desert.

  • Milkyway Dreaming - This Dreaming travels from the Top End to Purrpalalra in the Tanami, this story travels a long way. Men were coming from the Victoria River to the North West to Duck Ponds then on to Purrparlala to the South. While they were travelling, stars were falling from the sky. They were on their way to a young men's ceremony normally held around Christmas time. In this Dreaming the Witchetty Grub is also featured by the artist. This is a grub that eats the roots of trees and was always eaten by Warlpiri.

  • Seed Dreaming - This artwork is about the seeds kangaroos ate. People also ate this food. Patanjarngi (Slender Pigweed) is a plant that contains water. The flowers stand straight up and are broad. It has a fluffy flower which is red or grey. Animals like cows, camels, kangaroos and turkeys eat this flower. The animals eat this flower because it contains water inside. That’s how the bush native animals survive in the desert.

  • Kangaroo Food - This dreaming tells about the food kangaroos eat. The kangaroos hop around our country. They know all the trees, creeks and water holes and the best places for food.

  • Bush Mushroom Dreaming - This is a mushroom that Warlpiri people used to cook in the fire and eat. They are found in the Lake Mackay area. They grow in the soil and they are white in colour. Yapa knew which ones to eat.

  • Cave Dreaming – Kulurrngalinpa is a place southeast of Lajamanu. It is a sacred area in the north of the Tanami Desert.

  • Water Dreaming - This dreaming tells about rain dreaming. The rain travels around our country. This dream is about the wet season that gives new life to our country. Ngapa fill the creeks, waterholes and overflows onto all the land. This story belongs to Jangala, Nangala, Nampijinpa & Jampijinpa. Kurdungurlu (the person who checks and audits the story every time it is sung, danced or painted) is Japaljarri, Napaljarri, Napanangka & Japanangka.

 

The Warnayaka Collection of Christmas Baubles will also be available in Woolworths Supermarkets from mid-October. To purchase one of the baubles from the Warnayaka Collection head in store or online at www.bigw.com.au/brands/warnayaka-collection.

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