"The stories in these paintings are very important. We know them—only we men, Yolŋu men, dhuwuy (sacred) men know the deep stories. They have been shown to ŋäpaki through paintings, but they have looked on them and seen only pretty pictures, nice patterns and all that. But I hold the real, inside story, the story that the old people told us. For now, I will tell you the outside story; I cannot tell you the deep story unless you come to me and Djambawa Marawili. Yes, if you want to learn the real, inside story, you must come to me, and you must walk with me. We will go to the high ground, and you can look upon the waters with your own eyes."
– DHUKAḺ WIRRPANDA
This painting narrates a series of ancestral events connected to the Djan’kawu (Dhuwa creator beings) and Bulmanydji the shark. These events happened under the rays of the sun during the first morning. Freshwater sprang from the holes created by the Djan’kawu sisters, who are represented by the ancestral goanna. The black soil plain at Dhurruputjpi is dotted with these wells and walked on by hundreds of ancestral Brolga. The permanent waters of this area are covered with the leaves of the wild banana (daraŋgi). This plant also covers the entrance to Bulmanydji’s domain in the freshwaters of Dhurruputjpi. Miny’tji (sacred clan designs) for the Dhudi-Djapu are represented by the freshwaters welling from the ground, the rays of the first sun, and the daraŋgi floating on the surface of the permanent waters. The design of the top right panel, showing the rays of the first sun, was given to Dhukaḻ by Djambawa Marawili, who was in turn instructed by his father Wakuthi. Two icons of power are also depicted in the painting.
– Buku-Larrŋgay Mulka Centre
Natural pigments on eucalyptus bark
116 x 47 1/4
294.6 x 120
Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of the University of Virginia. Gift of John W. Kluge, 1997. 1996.0035.015
About The Artist(s)
Art Gallery of New South Wales
Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of the University of Virginia
National Gallery of Australia
National Gallery of Victoria
Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art