My name is Emma Nangari and I was born in Port August , South Australia to an PItantjatjara Ngaanatjarra mother. Although I grew up and went to school in Wyalla my family travelled regularlry to Alice Springs and Hermansburg to visit extended family.After finishing school I trained as an Indigenous teaching assistant and I worked for the Education Department for over 20 years. I am married and have one son.Painting has helped me to reconnect with my traditional culture after so many years in the mainstream education system. It has also helped me to appreciate my grandfather who made such an effort to teach me my traditional culture as I was growing up. Painting brings me a lot of joy and satisfaction.
The subject of this work is Lappi Lappi, a rock hole near Lake Hazlett, about 90 km northwest of Lake Mackay in Western Australia. The country belongs to Nampijinpa/Jampijinpa and Nangala/Jangala skin groups. Located in a sheltered basin, the rock hole at Lappi Lappi is a permanent source of water, and is surrounded by country rich in bush tucker. In the time of the Jukurrpa (Dreamtime) many mothers with young children would gather there because it was a safe place to stay. The rock hole at Lappi Lappi is home to a ‘warnayarra’, a rainbow serpent that travels underground between various rock holes. One day, women were gathered at the rock hole with their children, singing and dancing. When the ‘warnayarra’ heard the sound of voices, it travelled silently towards them, under the water. When it reached the edge of the rock hole, it rose out of the water and ate them all.