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Photo by Ross Swanborough

Kumpupirntily

Story:Nyayurnangalku [cannibal beings] live below the surface of the lake in a world lit by its own sun. The Nyayurnangalku are said to resemble people, except for their large fangs and the long curved fingernails they use to catch and hold their victims. They block the wind as they move across the lake in search of human prey. Aboriginal people only travel past the lake when the wind is blowing. When boomerang-shaped clouds called wilany appear in the sky, it is a sign that the Ngayurnangalku are approaching. Aboriginal people are also careful not to light fires near Kumpupirntily, in case it signals their presence to the Ngayurnangalku. The cannibals’ own fires are scattered across the surface of the lake. An immensely powerful force lies at the centre of the lake. Aboriginal people believe it is capable of pulling planes and helicopters down from the sky, and they avoid flying directly over the area. During the Dreamtime an important gathering of Ngayurnangalku took place at Kumpupirntily. They came from Natawalu (Well 40) and Yunpu in the north, from Mundiwindi in the west, and from the country around Kiwirrkurra in the east. They came to decide whether or not they should continue to live as cannibals. Jeffrey James continues the story: 'Everybody agrees: alright we better stop eating the peoples. Then that night there was a baby [girl] born from that other group [eastern mob] … And they asked the newborn baby, and she said no: "We can still carry on and continue eating peoples." But [western] mob said "No, we’re not going to touch."' Following the baby, one group continued to be cannibals, dividing the Ngayurnangalku forever into ‘good’ and ‘bad’. The bad people remained at Kumpupirntily, but the good were kept safe by ‘bodyguards’. 'The bodyguards were saving all the people. Sandhill in the middle of the lake separates good people and bad people.' Painting Catalogue Number: JB/DS/73/MM, BA/194/MM, PR/198/MM, PR/212/MM

Media Creator:Painting by Yunkurra Billy Atkins, Photo by Ross Swanborough

Media date: 2008
Story Location: Kumpupirntily (Lake Disappointment)

Media Description:It’s dangerous, that Country. I’ve seen that [cannibal] man, he’s there and I know it. I don’t know how white people go over there. If they were to run into him he would eat them straight out. Kumpupirntily, that’s a no good place … leave it alone and have nothing to do with it at all. Just leave it how it is.' (Yunkurra Billy Atkins)

Story contributor(s):Jeffrey James, Yunkurra Billy Atkins, John Carty, Clifford Brooks

Art Centre(s): Martumili Artists
Publisher: FORM
Media copyright: Yunkurra Billy Atkins, Ross Swanborough
Source: CSROH_17B
Accession ID:20131024_FORM_MIRA_B0046_0006

This material is sourced from Ngurra Kuju Walyja — the Canning Stock Route Project, which was initiated in 2006 by FORM and developed in partnership with Birriliburu, Kayili, KALACC, Mangkaja, Martumili, Ngurra, Papunya Tula, Paruku IPA, Warlayirti and Yulparija artists and art centres.This material is sourced from Ngurra Kuju Walyja — the Canning Stock Route Project, which was initiated in 2006 by FORM and developed in partnership with Birriliburu, Kayili, KALACC, Mangkaja, Martumili, Ngurra, Papunya Tula, Paruku IPA, Warlayirti and Yulparija artists and art centres.

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