"I was born in Darwin, then went to Yirrkala where I grew up with my auntie, Mathaman Marika's wife Yanitjuwa. For nine years I was without my parents – they were at East Arm [Leprosarium in Darwin Hospital].
I moved out to Gäṉgaṉ with my father [Gawirrin Gumana AO] and his brother, where I've lived ever since. Here I've learned my rights and how to be a leader, I learnt how to paint. My leadership roles are in relation to the land, that's where my art is, with our ancestor Barama and his disciple Lany'tjung.
My mother is Djambarrpuŋu, her sister is Marraŋu. That's how I come to paint those designs. That Country is north on Arnhem Bay and I can trace my ancestry on that side, as far west as Maningrida but Blue Mud Bay is my djalkirri waŋa, my foundation on my father's side. We are related through kin with the Maḏarrpa clan, the Maŋgalili and the Djawarrk for all time., We are still here."
– WATURR GUMANA with ANDREW BLAKE
Each pattern in this painting represents a different body of water belonging to the Dhaḻwaŋu clan. At the top, tight rows of diamonds refer to the sacred freshwaters of Gulutji, from which Barama emerged to deliver Yirritja Law. At the base, the zig-zag lines signify the rolling waves of the saltwater estate of Garrapara.
In the central section, Waturr has depicted the site where the floodplain of Baraltja flows into the bay. This area does not belong to the Dhaḻwaŋu, but to the Djarrwarrk clan of the Dhuwa moiety, who relate to the Dhalwaŋu as yothu-yindi (mother and child).
In using the clan designs of both Dhaḻwaŋu and Djarrwarrk clans to depict this site where fresh and saltwater mixes, Waturr draws attention to the complementary interdependence of the two moieties.
– Henry Skerritt and Kade McDonald
Natural pigments on eucalyptus bark
64 15/16 x 24 13/16
165 x 63
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College. Gift of Will Owen and Harvey Wagner. 2011.43.112.
About The Artist(s)