Janet Long Nakamarra
Country: Willowra, Central Australia
Janet Long Nakamarra was born in 1960 at Anninie on her traditional homelands of Warntapari, near Willowra community in Central Australia. Janet grew up living a traditional lifestyle with her family. Janet is the daughter to Nora Long Nakamarra , sister to Doreen Dickson Nakamarra and half-sister to well-known artist Malcom Maloney Jagamarra. When Janet left school in 1975 she worked in Literacy producing books in her Language Warlpiri. She stayed working at the school for 13 years. During her work experience she was working with her elders writing a book about their life called Warlpiri Women’s Voices, there were two other women helping her with the book, it took them 6 weeks to finish transcribing from tapes and translating into both languages Walpiri and English. When the book was finalised, Janet and both the women who helped her travelled to Sydney to launch the book. In 1989 Janet started to paint her stories and dreaming’s that was passed down to her from her mother and Aunties. She also worked as an interpreter for the elders for land Claims. In 1990 she was appointed counsellor for Batchelor College helping remote students with their abstudy and helping trainee Literacy workers. Janet had her first solo exhibition in 1999 in Sydney, Chifley Plaza.
Story: The lines depicted in this artwork represent the underground flowing water at a Warntaparri, which is a significant place for Warlpiri people in central Australia. It is at this place where traditional ceremonies are performed. They paint their bodies with white ochre and sit singing to invoke the ancestral beings to ensure rain. The roundels represent the soakage’s and as each one would dry up the Warlpiri people move on to another soakage, before digging a hole and covering it with leaves. Overnight the water would settle clear enough to drink.