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Zeza Nampijinpa Egan – Ngapa (Water)

$1,450.00 inc. GST

Zeza (Noreen) Nampijinpa Ega is a Warlpiri artist from Yuendumu. She has an outstanding understanding of colour and has a fine sense of composition. There is great subtlety in this painting. More information about the artwork and artist below.

See a video here with Zeza explaining the importance of water.

This is an original artwork created by the artist and can be displayed portrait or landscape.

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  • Title: Ngapa Jukurrpa (Water Dreaming)
  • Medium: Acrylic on cotton canvas, stretched
  • Year:  2023
  • Size: 61 x 89 cm
  • Artist skin name: Nampijinpa
  • Language group: Warlpiri
  • Community: Yuendumu
  • Can be removed from the stretcher on request
  • Artwork certificate provided


In contemporary Warlpiri paintings, traditional iconography is used to represent the Jukurrpa (Dreaming or Ancestral Creation Story). These were used in body and ground paintings during ceremonies. For the Ngapa (Water) Jukurrpa short dashes are often used to represent ‘mangkurdu’ (cumulus & stratocumulus clouds), and longer, flowing lines represent ‘ngawarra’ (flood waters) and creek lines. Small circles are used to depict ‘mulju’ (soakages) in the riverbed. The painting can be displayed portrait or landscape.

The sites depicted in this painting are at Warlukurlangu, west of Yuendumu. The creek beds are generally dry, however there are many ‘mulju’ (soakages), or naturally occurring wells in the watercourse. The ‘kirda’ (owners) for this site are Nangala/Nampijinpa women and Jangala/Jampijinpa men. Two Jangala men, rainmakers, sang the rain, unleashing a giant storm. The storm travelled across the country from the east to the west, initially travelling with a ‘Pamapardu Jukurrpa’ (Termite Dreaming) from Warntungurru to Warlura, a waterhole 8 miles east of Yuendumu.

The water Dreaming then travelled from the south over Mikanji, a watercourse with soakages northwest of Yuendumu. At Mikanji, the storm was picked up by a ‘kirrkarlanji’ (brown falcon [Falco berigora]) and taken farther north. At Puyurru, the falcon dug up a giant ‘Warnayarra’ (rainbow serpent). The serpent carried water with it to create another large (salt) lake, Jillyiumpa, close to an outstation in this country. After stopping at Puyurru, the water Dreaming travelled on through other locations including Yalyarilalku, Mikilyparnta, Katalpi, Lungkardajarra, Jirawarnpa, Kamira, Yurrunjuku, and Jikaya before moving on into Gurindji country to the north.

The artist

Zeza is an outstanding colourist and has a fine sense of composition. She was originally called Noreen until a relative with that name passed away. In a community it is hurtful to hear the name of a deceased person so they are referred to as Kumunjayi and anyone with the same name can either take a new name or also be called Kumunjayi.

Zeza’s father was Ted Jangala Egan, a renowned tracker and early member of Warlukurlangu Artists of Yuendumu.

The director of Songlines, Felicity Wright (aka Nangala), was the first manager of Warlukurlangu Artists from 1986-88 and is well known to the Egan family. Living and working on Warlpiri country and learning the language and stories was a huge privilege and changed her perspective on life. The Warlpiris introduced her to Indigenous ways of seeing and being in the world. The old men and women ‘grew her up’. She maintains strong connections with the Warlpiri families.