Organized by the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection


Mäṉa entered the earth at Wäṉḏawuy and disappeared, and so the songline ends. Our paintings represent this journey to Waṉḏawuy. It is the river at Waṉḏawuy that we paint on bark, or on the chests of boys for their dhapi’ (initiation ceremony) or old men who are ready to retire from ceremonial obligations. It is a story that belongs only to the Djapu’ clan. The other Dhuwa clans, such as the Marrakulu, the Gälpu and the Dhuḏi- Djapu’—have their own stories.


Waṉḏawuy is a Gupa-Djapu homeland located near the fork of two tributaries of the Gurriyalayala River. The landscape is dotted with billabongs, which can be seen in the grid-like patterns of the Gupa-Djapu clan. The name Waṉḏawuy translates to “shark head.” It is associated with the ancestral shark, Mäna, because it is where the fish trap caught Mäna before his spirit left his bodily form. Waṉḏawuy is also a ceremonial place for Bol’ŋu the Thunderman because it is surrounded by freshwater resulting from his thunderclouds.


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Mäṉa | The Shark

Bol’ŋu | The Thunderman