An image of Buluwana

John Mawurndjul

(Australia 1952 – )

Maningrida, Arnhem region, Milmilngkan, Arnhem region
Language group
Kuninjku, Arnhem region


Yiribana Gallery
Further information

Buluwana was a woman of Wumuddjan subsection, and one of the first people to inhabit the Kurulk clan region at Ngandarrayo. The Ngandarrayo site is on a large escarpment outlier. The camping places along this outlier are rich in rock art. During the time of great drought, Buluwana and her family were camped at Ngandarrayo. They were weak from thirst, and close to death, when the group was confronted by the malevolent gigantic form of the Death Adder snake. Buluwana tried to run away with the rest of her family, but was crushed and turned to stone. An arrangement of rocks still remains in the ground as Buluwana's present-day form. Only her head protrudes as a prismic standing stone - the rest ofher body is under the ground. Other human remains lying on rock ledges are said to be those of more early ancestors. The Ngandarrayo site is a place of great significance to people of the Kurulk and Kulmarru clans, and is classed as a highly sacred and dangerous place.

from Hetti Perkins et al., 'Crossing country: the alchemy of Western Arnhem Land art', Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 2004

Bark painting
natural pigments on eucalyptus bark
190.0 x 84.0 cm (irreg.)
Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.

Purchased 2003
Accession number
© John Mawurndjul. Licensed by Viscopy, Australia