Biography Narelle Nangala Brown was born in 1987 in Alice Springs Hospital, the closest hospital to Yuendumu, a remote Aboriginal community located 290 km north-west of Alice Springs in the NT of Australia. She is the daughter of Veronica Napangardi Martin and Ernest Japanangka Brown, and the granddaughter of Peggy Nampijinpa Brown, a respected Warlpiri woman in the Yuendumu community, receiving the Order of the Australia Medal in 2007 for her work in the successful Petrol sniffing program. Peggy is also a well-known artist in her own right. When Narelle was young she watched her grandmother paint and listened to her stories. Narelle went to Yuendumu local school with her sister Anita Brown. These days she is busy with her two daughters born in 2009 and 2014 respectively. Narelle has been painting with Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation, an Aboriginal owned and governed art centre located in Yuendumu, since 2008. She paints her grandmother’s Watiya-Warnu Jukurrpa (Seed Dreaming) and her parents Ngapa Jukurrpa (Water Dreaming). ‘Dreamings’ that relate directly to her land, its features and the plants and animals that inhabit it. These stories have been passed down to her by her parents and their parents before them for millennia. Initially she used traditional iconography but over time she has developed an individualistic style using an unrestricted palette, and pattern and design in a variety of contexts to depict her traditional jukurrpa.
Watiya-warnu Jukurrpa (Seed Dreaming) This painting tells the story of a Jangala ‘watiya-warnu’ (Acacia tenuissima) ancestor who travelled south from a small hill called Ngurlupurranyangu to Yamunturrngu (Mount Liebig). As he travelled he picked the ‘watiya-warnu’ seeds and placed them in ‘parrajas’ (food carriers), one of which he carried on his head. Watiya-warnu is a seed bearing tree that grows in open spinifex or mulga country. When people returned to their camp after collecting the seeds they would make large windbreaks for shelter and winnow the seed in the late afternoon. Immature ‘watiya-warnu’ seed is ground into a paste and can be used to treat upset stomachs. The associated ‘watiya-warnu’ ceremony involves the preparation of a large ground painting. This Jukurrpa belongs to Nampijinpa/Nangala women and Jampijinpa/Jangala men. In contemporary Warlpiri paintings traditional iconography is used to represent the Jukurrpa, particular sites and other elements. In paintings of this Dreaming ‘U’ shapes are often depicting women collecting the ‘watiya-warnu’ seeds. Oval shapes represent the ‘parrajas’ where they carry the seeds and strait lines beside them frequently portrait digging sticks.