"The Yolŋu stand on their deeply embedded foundations. It is ancient and everlasting. Do not come and push the Yolŋu aside. We do not come from a long way away. This is our home.
Our designs, embassies and homelands. It is for the Yolŋu that we paint. Do you know what we are doing? We are working on our Law. This is interpreting our wisdom, our foundation and the sinews of Yolŋu. This is a true story, not lies."
– ḎULA ŊURRUWUTHUN
This work depicts the ancestral woman Nyulminyulmi, also known as Gunumuŋgu or Dhambarrama. While collecting shellfish in the mangroves near Blue Mud Bay, Gunumuŋgu was caught in the high tide. Because she was pregnant, she could not swim to shore, and so she drowned and turned into a tree. The patterns on the side of Gunumuŋgu indicate the Munyuku waters rushing into Blue Mud Bay.
– Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection
Natural pigments on eucalyptus bark
38 ½ x 18 ¼
97.8 x 46.4
National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, E387450.
About The Artist(s)
Djambaryan, Djimbarion, Djimbarjun, Jimnbaryun
The father of Ḏula Ŋurruwutthun and Gambali Ŋurruwutthun, Djimbaryun Ŋurruwutthun was a close associate of Woŋgu Munuŋgurr. As the leader of Woŋgu’s mother’s Munyuku clan, he served as of djuŋgayi (ceremonial manager). In 1942, he painted for Donald Thomson at the base camp of the Northern Territory Special Reconnaissance Unit, and in 1947, he produced crayon drawings for the anthropologists Ronald and Catherine Berndt.
Berndt Museum of Anthropology, University of Western Australia
Donald Thomson Collection, University of Melbourne
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History