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Questions of country
Red trees at Hooker Creek – Larry was fascinated by the trees on the creek.
Mervyn Meggitt, 1965
He was looking at those trees but he was thinking about his own country, Yarripirlangu.
Tess Napaljarri Ross, 2011
Yarripirlangu to Hooker Creek
Larry Jungarrayi was aged in his late 30s when he met Mervyn Meggitt at Hooker Creek. An initiated and ceremonially active man, Jungarrayi was also employed as the settlement’s baker. After Warlpiri were granted land rights in the late 1980s, Jungarrayi returned to his birthplace and ancestral home at Yarripirlangu in Ngalia (southern Warlpiri) country, where he and his brothers established an outstation. In the same period Jungarrayi, who by now had acquired the European surname Spencer, was involved in establishing acrylic painting at Yuendumu. He was a founding member of Warlukurlangu Aboriginal Artists Association.
Trees at Hooker Creek
Among Jungarrayi’s drawings is a series Meggitt identified as ‘Trees at Hooker Creek’. Warlpiri people today are bewildered by this attribution. Was Jungarrayi painting Hooker Creek – his new home, but country to which he had no entitlement in Warlpiri reckoning? Or was he homesick and looking at the trees at Hooker Creek while thinking about his own country, Yarripirlangu, hundreds of kilometres to the south-west?
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