Nänyin Maymuru | Night Bird and Possum

Nänyin Maymuru

Night Bird and Possum, 1964

Guwak ga Marrŋu

Clan

Maŋgalili

Songline

Yiŋapuŋapu

More Info

Nänyin’s painting Guwak ga Marrŋu | Night Bird and Possum (1964) can be read from different perspectives. The image shows the journey of the ancestors from place to place, with each intersection depicting a location where they stopped. Guwak, at the top of the painting, is leading the way, and the possum-fur string trails behind him. The central column can also be interpreted as the ganyawu (Semecarpus australiensis, native cashew tree) at journey’s end, which has the sacred name Marawili. From this perspective, it is also the “playground” for the possums, who run up and down the tree and in and out of the hollowed trunk. The background miny’tji (pattern) inside the trunk shows the marks made by the possums, and outside the miny’tji shows patterns in the sand. At the very top of the trunk are three garanyirrnyirr (cicadas).


– Howard Morphy

Additional Information

Decade

1964

Medium

Natural pigments on eucalyptus bark

Dimensions (IN)

62 x 20 15/16

Dimensions (CM)

157.5 x 53.2

Credit

Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of the University of Virginia.
Edward L. Ruhe Collection. Gift of John W. Kluge, 1997. 1993.0004.624

Narrative

Maŋgalili

The Maŋgalili clan belongs to the Yirritja moiety. Their major spiritual theme revolves around the...

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Songline

Yiŋapuŋapu

The yiŋapuŋapu is a low relief sand sculpture, elliptical in shape, that is used in...

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Location

Djarrakpi

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Location

1960s

The 1960s were a decade of tumult and triumph for Yolŋu art and artists. In...

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About The Artist(s)

Clan

Maŋgalili

Artist Dates

c.1914-1969

Alternative Names

Nanjin, Nanung, Nanyan

Nänyin Maymuru

Nänyin Maymuru was the elder brother of Narritjin Maymuru. Along with his brother, he painted the Maŋgalili section of the Yirrkala Church Panels and developed the distinctive Maŋgalili school of painting continued by their children Baluka Maymuru, Galuma Maymuru and Naminapu Maymuru-White.

Collections Represented