"This place is a rainforest called Gurrarama. The top band of the painting shows squid and giant cuttlefish. The pair with no faces are Marryalyan. The three with faces are ŋarrpiya (octopus). The vertical middle stripe represents the spray of a whale as it swims and eats. Some of what it eats sprays out through its blowhole. The middle band of the painting depicts the place, Gurrumbu, with flying foxes hanging upside down. The crosshatching with three diagonal cuts represents scratches from their claws. The black at the far edge of this band represents the sickness the flying foxes carry, rabies. The lower band depicts bat droppings with two yellow and two white bats. The black bats, matjurr, wear the pattern of the sickness. The flying foxes transform into squid or cuttlefish in order to live in the ocean."
– DHURRITJINI TERRY YUMBULUL
Märrma (two) way–octopus and also that rock mälarrami or Baṉḏaŋuwami, is a sacred site of octopus, mind and we still have that there, and also there is a special jungle, and octopus live right in the hollow log. When you go and knock the hollow, this octopus change into flying fox, in Gurrarama, in the Wessel Islands, my mother’s country which is very strong Warramiri totem and symbol.
– Wandjuk Djuwakan Marika with Jennifer Isaacs
Natural pigments on eucalyptus bark
66 ¾ x 31 ¾
170 x 81
Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of the University of Virginia.
Gift of John W. Kluge, 1997. 1989.7002.001
About The Artist(s)
George, Lekon, Liwakan, Liwukan, Liwukang, Lewukan, Bukurlatjpi
The brother of David Burrumarra, Liwukaŋ Bukulatjpi was an important leader of the Warramiri clan at Galiwin’ku (Elcho Island). A respected painter on bark, between 1968 and 1971 he also produced a number of works in brightly colored inks and acrylic paint on paper for the collector John Money.