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Nyayartakujarra (Ngayarta Kujarra, Lake Dora)

“I see this place all the time when I go out to Punmu community. I take my brothers out hunting here. This painting shows the story about the Warnman people, when they were walking from kakarra (east) traveling yulparirra (south), long time ago. They were walking on Nyayartakujarra, the salt lake, they were burnt, fried up. There was oil on the lake- it was too hot! They died and they’re still there today.” 

 – Ignatius Hamzah Taylor

Nyayartakujarra (Lake Dora) is a vast and culturally significant salt lake located in the north east section of the Karlamilyi River region. Surrounding Nyayartakujarra are numerous fresh water soaks and the red tali (sandhills) typical of the area. Punmu Aboriginal Community lies on the eastern edge of the lake.

Nyayartakujarra is an important site in the Jila Kujarra (Two Snakes) Jukurrpa (Dreaming) narrative. Though the story belongs to Warnman people, it is shared across the Western Desert with several other language groups. The narrative centres on the travels of two snakes as they are pursued by the Niminjarra, spiritual ancestors of the Warnman people.

Before transforming themselves into snakes, the Jila Kujarra were young brothers. As snakes, they began travelling home to their mother, but were intercepted by the Niminjarra, who tracked the Jila Kujarra to Paji, east of Nyayartakujarra. Here they eluded the Niminjarra, but the Jila Kujarra were soon after speared and injured at Nyayartakujarra by two Pukurti (initiates with bundled hair), who returned with the Niminjarra to cook the snakes at the site of Kumpupirntily (Kumpupintily, Lake Disappointment). As the Niminjarra cut down the length of the Jila Kujarra, the snake’s bladders were pierced, causing an explosion of scalding hot urine in which the Niminjarra all perished and became black rocks at the site. At the same time, the urine of the Jila Kujarra formed the lake at Kumpupirntily, which translates to ‘bladder burst’. The spirits of the Jila Kujarra returned to their mother at Nyayartakujarra, where the mother and her sons entered the ground below the lake and remain to this day.

Name: Ignatius Paul Taylor

Language: Martu Wangka, Warnman

Community: Parnngurr


"I enjoy looking after my elders, hunting, camping, and looking after my Country. I speak English, Manyjilyjarra, Warnman, Kartujarra, and Martu Wangka, and can translate between these languages. I enjoy being close to my locals. I believe anyone can learn to work well and would like to be a positive role model for others.

I like painting, playing the drums and acoustic guitar."


- Ignatius Paul Taylor (Hamzah)

© the artist / art centre