- Museum number
- Object: Hollow log at Dhalinybuy
Painting made of bark, wood, paint (red, black, cream, yellow), and string. Depicts a story which explains how land was bestowed on the Wangurri clan of Arnhem Land, and features animals significant to them: spider (garr), sea wasp or jellyfish (rraytjung), octopus (ngarrpiya).
- Production date
- 1980s (before 1986)
- Curator's comments
- Notes from Eth Doc 1064: An interpretation given by Munganydjiwuy Munyarryun's father, Gadal'miny to anthropologist Nancy Williams, a Yolngu Matha speaker, of a painting the same as Munyarryun's (Oc1986,07.10), except that the painting described had a turtle (guwarrtji), rather than an octopus (ngarrpiya).
'Gadawarrk. Ancestral hollow log.
1. Gadal'miny's account to Nancy Williams.
The artist has portrayed in this bark features of a story that explains the Wangurri ownership of one of their most important places. The creatures depicted are all especially related to the Wangurri and the account of how their country was bestowed on them: spider (garr), sea wasp or jellyfish (rraytjung), small turtle (guwarrtji).
The undivided end panel with the spiders and the black, concave-based triangle shows the spiders and their home, the home they made, the important name of which is Banngala. The name of the Banngala at Dhalinbuy is Dhurrkay, and it connects with the Banngala at Wurrwala. Such names are an important part of a clan's property.
The story is one that connects Wangurri and Manggalili sites and people.
The end panels with the lozenge-shaped features as well as the centre panel they flank stand for galirrimun, the empty shells, or bones, or remains of sea wasp, turtle and octopus - all significant to Wangurri. The three bands that divide the vertical space are sea water. Rang is the name of this water in Wangurri country.
The portion of the bark that portrays the spiders, which are also connected with early morning ground fog (wakulunggul), and their home, a large cliff by the sea near the mouth of the river Dhaliny, symbolizes the origins, the coming into being, and the life stages of creatures important to and standing for Wangurri places and people. The panels that represent their remains (bones) stand for all the deceased Wangurri people.
The entire painting is Gadawarrk, and the particular representations are illustrative of aspects of his being and his marking country for Wangurri people. Thus all portions of the painting flowing from the spiders and their home are characterized as 'nuku', literally foot or footprint, but with the symbolic meaning of foundation, and are associated with coastal land and waters owned by the Wangurri.'
'2. Gadawarrk. Cat no 6567 & 6-524 [Oc1986,07.10 & Oc1986,07.11].
The central section of both paintings represents a tree log, Gadawarrk, which was flooded down river to Wangurri country in ancestral times. As it moved, it carved out the river beds, and marked the country. The clans whose country was marked by Gadawarrk are ceremonially linked by it.
When Gadawarrk reached the salt water, it contained milka, mangrove worms. Both the hollow log and the mangrove worms are sacred to Wangurri people. A meaning of the Wangurri clan design (covering painting no 6567 and in the central section of 6-524) is mangrove worm, or their 'tracks' in the hollow log.
The central section of painting 6567 represents the mangrove worm, it's [sic] head at one end and tail at the other... it also represents the Gadawarrk.'
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Africa, Oceania and the Americas
- Registration number