“My great-great grandfather, my mother’s side, is the traditional owner for the rain dreaming and he used this design in the ceremonies. They used to paint it in the sand and on people’s bodies. I wanted to do these designs to keep them alive. People used to do these painting lots back when he was around, but not anymore. It's all about rain dreaming, lightning, wind and thunder. And the rainbow man is in there. Dreamtime man. He’s in all those stories my great-great- grandfather did."
Warrick Miller Japangardi was born in Katherine, in 1987. He started painting 3 years ago at Mount Theo, an outstation North-West of Yuendumu, before moving to Ali Curung where he paints with Arlpwe Art and Culture Centre.
He is a proud Warlpiri man from a long line of lawmen, ceremonial rain-makers and established artists including his great-grandfather Abie Tjangala, and Abie’s brother, Joe Bird Jangala. Warrick recalls being a young boy and being told the epic stories of the water-rain-cloud and thunder Jukurrpa by Old Joe.
Warrick paints with great pride and devotion to preserving and teaching Warlpiri culture. Within his multidisciplinary practice, Warrick is an adept maker of traditional boomerangs, spears, coolamon, stone knives, and ceremonial hair belts, of which he is presently the only maker in Ali Curung. Warrick’s practice uses traditional techniques as a vehicle for his contemporary vision of Warlpiri aesthetics.
Warrick’s paintings emerge from an ancient lineage of Warlpiri visual language and ceremony. They are painted by the custodians and guardians of the rain dreaming on the bodies of the rainmakers during Kurdiji (Warlpiri initiation ceremony) and are drawn on the ground for their sons and grandchildren during Purlapa (Warlpiri public ceremony).