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This painting is by Keith Lapulung who has been assisted by his younger brother Djundu Djakala. It contains an important cultural link between two countries that belong to the Djambarrpuyngu clan nation of north-east Arnhem Land. The two countries represented are Garrata (top layer) and Ngurruyurrtjurr (bottom layer). The middle layer with the roundel depicts two saltwater rengitj (song cycles) classified as the Rulyapa and Murrupu, ocean currents meeting together. The depiction of Garrata features the Mana or ancestral Shark Dreaming, gut-gut (ceremonial headband) and a yininya or ceremonial spear belonging to the Yirritja peoples. The U-shaped object inside the shark is the djukurru (fat), which has great cultural significance. Just beneath is the warrngul or stingray-barbed ceremonial spear belonging to Dhuwa people of the Dhamalamirr clan. The two namal (stingray) represent the importance of the cultural connection between the shark and the Djambarrpuyngu people of the Dhamalamirr clan whose nation is at Garrata. The rarrk (cross-hatching) symbolises the current of the two waters meeting and forming one current. The roundel itself represents the garma (meeting place for ceremony) – an assembly area and common ground for both Djambarrpuyngu clan nations, the Dhamalamirr clan and Dhabunba clan. The bottom layer of the painting depicts the Mutuldja Nyapili (mythical king brown snakes) who rest at Ngurruyurrtjurr. Two bawung (native yams) in flower are depicted inside, again emphasising the importance of the country. In the centre is a barala (sand bar) under which the snakes rest. Two warrarri (ceremonial spears) belonging to the Dhabunba clan are depicted on the outer edges.—Milingimbi Arts and Craft © Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory

Details

  • Title: Untitled
  • Creator: Keith Dhamarrandji Lapulung
  • Date: 2006
  • Type: Bark Painting
  • Rights: Purchased 2006, Telstra Collection, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory © licensed by Milingimbi Arts and craft centre
  • Medium: natural pigments on bark
  • Geographical Region of Artist: Garrata (near Buckingham Bay), Central Arnhem Land
  • Exhibition: 23rd Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award 2006
  • Ethnic Language Group: Djambarrpuyngu
  • Dimensions: 150 x 55 cm
  • Collection: Contemporary Australian Indigenous Art
  • Artist Ethnicity: Aboriginal

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