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Wirlarra, the site depicted in this painting, lies on the eastern edge of a large salt lake, Nyayartakujarra (Lake Dora), near Punmu Aboriginal community. A distinctive group of small salt water pools are clustered together here. The water from these pools is known for its’ powerful healing properties, and the pools are still visited today by Martu to bathe cuts and sores. 

Wirlarra is also a term for ‘moon’ in Manyjilyjarra, and through the site’s Jukurrpa (Dreaming) narrative, the site is united with the moon in significance. It is said that at Wirlarra, the moon called to a family of dingoes; a mother, father and their large litter of dingo pups. The dingoes gathered at Wirlarra, where the moon cared for them and created a windbreak for the family to shelter. Here the dingoes scratched at the surface of the salt lake and created the cluster of salt water pools located there today. They lay down there. After a time, the dingoes continued travelling eastward toward the rising moon until they reached Kinyu (Well 35 on the Canning Stock Route), where they remained until all of the dingo pups had grown up. From Kinyu the family travelled further east with the moon.

Name: Bianca Simpson

Language: Manyjilyjarra

Community: Punmu


© the artist / art centre