Snake Dreaming by Steven Jackamarra Oldfield

Snake Dreaming by Steven Jackamarra Oldfield

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  • Artist: Steven Jackamarra Oldfield 
  • Title: Snake Dreaming
  • Region: Yuendumu
  • Language: Warlpiri
  • Size: 46 x 46cm
  • Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
  • Art Centre: Warlukurlangu Artists

Warna Jukurrpa (Snake Dreaming)

The place depicted in this painting, Ngama, is located south of Yuendumu in the Northern Territory. This Dreaming belongs to Nakamarra/Napurrurla women and Jakamarra/Jupurrurla men. This story describes the journey of Yarripiri, an ancestral ‘warna’ (snake). He travelled from Wirnparrku near Mt. Liebig to Yimparlu, and continued its way through the territories of Ngapanangka-jarra, Warlajirryi, Kurnmundu, Yinyirrinyi on to Ngama. Later Yarripiri travelled further north via Mijirlparnta (Mission Creek) and right through to the top end of Australia.Yarripiri was very sad as his family had left him behind at Wirnparrku. He was blind and crippled but he was determined to follow and search them out. He had to be carried. This was the job undertaken by the ‘kurdungurlu’ (ceremonial police) of the Dreaming: the Nangala/Nampijinpa women and Jangala/Jampijinpa men. Where Yarripiri’s tail slumped and touched the ground creeks were formed, such as Mijirlparnta, west of Yuendumu. Yarripiri tracks and paths are often represented by arc shapes or curved lines depicted across the canvas.

Steven Jakamarra Oldfield was born in 1974 in Alice Springs, where his parents were living at the time. Shortly after he was born, his family moved to Yuendumu, a remote Aboriginal community, 290 km north-west of Alice Springs, in the Northern Territory of Australia. He completed his schooling at the local school, then travelled between communities, learning about his country. He has one sister, Patricia Nakamarra Oldfield, who paints for Warlukurlangu Art Centre.                                                                      
In 2016 Steven began painting with Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation, an Aboriginal owned and governed art centre located in Yuendumu. His Dad, Big Dave Jupurrla Oldfield (1944-1996) also painted with Warlukurlangu, his work first appearing in 1986. Steven paints stories that are closely associated with his traditional country, in particular, his father’s Warna Jukurrpa (Snake Dreaming), stories that have been passed down to him from his father and his father’s father for millennia.
Steven is married and lives in Yuendumu. When he is not painting he enjoys going out hunting with family and friends.