Seed Dreaming by Tanya Nungarrayi Collins from the Warlukurlangu Artists of Yuendumu

Seed Dreaming by Tanya Nungarrayi Collins from the Warlukurlangu Artists of Yuendumu

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  • Artist: Tanya Nungarrayi Collins
  • Title: Seed Dreaming
  • Community: Yuendumu
  • Art Centre: Warlukurlangu Artists
  • Size: 61cm x 46cm
  • Cat# 5142/22


Tanya Nungarrayi Collins was born on 11 November 1975 in Yuendumu, a remote Aboriginal community 290 km northwest of Alice Springs in the NT. She has one sister, Nancy, and one brother, Alan. Her grandparents lived in Mount Doreen, but moved to the Yuendumu community where her parents grew up. She is married to Steven Marshall, and has one son, Winston Japangardi.

Tanya attended Yirara College in Alice Springs, NT. She enjoyed doing reading and maths in college. After school, she worked for a number of different organizations in Yuendumu. These included the child care centre, the Yuendumu school kitchen, and as a School Attendance Officer (”yellow shirt”). When she is not painting, Tanya likes to hunt for kangaroo, perentie, witchetty grubs, and honey ants.

Tanya started painting a long time ago with her mother, who has since passed away. She painted ‘ngurlu Jukurrpa’ (seed Dreaming) with her mother. Today Tanya paints ‘watiyawarnu Jukurrpa’ (seed Dreaming). Her other Dreamings include ‘marlu Jukurrpa’ (kangaroo Dreaming) and ‘witi Jukurrpa’ (ceremonial pole Dreaming). Both of these Dreamings are located at Jila (Chilla Well), a claypan to the west of Yuendumu. These Dreamings were passed on to Tanya from her father.


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.