Message from George Lee Jungurrayi

“A man (centre) is surrounded by four important values in his life ā€“ jukurrpa (culture), kurrunpa (spirit), ngurra (country) and walytja (family). Together, these values keep him well as he can feel himself being pulled in many directions. He is living in two worlds: the Kartiya (non-Aboriginal) world, the grey representing concrete, and his Aboriginal world (the brown representing the land). The two snakes are the two forces trying to work within him to find that balance between two ways of living. The yellow and red of the two snakes is their energy inside him (the four values) and outside (Kartiya values). These forces are trying to come together as one. Sometimes he finds that balance. When he cannot find that balance he can feel lost.”

(George Lee Jungurrayi, on his painting “Finding the Balance”)

The Warlpiri concept of Kurdiji, like the system described by George Lee Jungurrayi, teaches that an Aboriginal person is held in balance by ceremony, language, kinship and law. Without that balance the non-Aboriginal world is too strong an influence. Without the counterweight of country a person can lose the feeling of who they are.

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