16. Wedge-Tailed Eagle Dreaming
Paddy Japaljarri Sims is a Warlpiri elder and one of Yuendumu's truly outstanding painters. He was one of several men who initiated public painting there in a series of murals painted on the school doors in 1983. This demonstrated the importance of creating a public face to what had been, up until that point, a strictly secret-sacred ceremonial art. In 1988 he traveled to Paris for the exhibition Magiciens de la Terre, where he and several other senior men executed a traditional ceremonial ground painting at the Center Georges Pompidou. Old men such as Paddy's Sims hold vast bodies of important cultural information and in recent years have taken on an active role as cultural spokesman through their art practice, their contemporary art proudly articulating to our culture what is of value to them: land, spirituality, nature, people, and traditional values.
This story belongs to Kiljapa, north of Kintore. At the site depicted in this canvas an eagle made a mina (nest) in a tree and laid eggs. From this perch the eagle would fly around searching for prey. The nest is depicted as the concentric circles in the center of the painting. The eagles is stalking wallabies and small kangaroos as depicted by the hook shaped tracks. The four toed tracks are those of the eagle and represent the places she touches down during her hunt.
This dreaming belongs to Jungurrayi and Japaljarri men who are depicted sitting down at this place, by the arcs to either side of the eagles nest. The circle in the upper left of the painting depicts Pinjuna, another place where the eagle rested , where a big higher level ceremony related to this story takes place.