Munggurrawuy Yunupingu

(Australia circa 1907 – 12 Apr 1979)

Community
Biranybirany (Caledon Bay), Arnhem region
Language group
Gumatj, Arnhem region

Bununggu

(Australia circa 1917 – 1974)

Community
Yirrkala, Arnhem region
Language group
Gumatj, Arnhem region

Lany'tjung story no. 1

Other titles:
Lany'tjung story, myth no 1 Laindjung stroy, myth no 1
Location
Not on display
Further information

top: A Yirritja Ngärra ceremony was held near Caledon Bay. Three brothers and their two sisters were dancing when they called out the sacred name for fire. A fire, already burning, grew. One of the sisters tried to stop the fire but it spread. A vertical diamond pattern depicting wood divides the panel into two parts. The Yirritja diamond-patterned cross-hatching on the left represents the fire - black being ashes and red the glow of the fire. Dots in the horizontal bands at the top represent sparks while those in the lower bands represent flames. On the right are depicted the bones and ashes of the people burnt. One of the sisters is shown in a sacred shade surrounded by smoke.

upper: The diamond pattern between the fire and the bandicoot is Munggurrawuy's Dreaming.

lower: The ancestral Bandicoot is seen surrounded by grass and entering a hollow log to save itself from the fire. The dots are the bandicoot's footprints.

bottom: The division between these panels represents the bank of a billabong and the watermark. Baru the crocodile is depicted in a billabong, the area of cross-hatching surrounding the crocodile is its nest, and the remaining cross-hatching represents räkay (eleocharis dulci), a highly nutritious species of lily. Dots represent bubbles from the crocodile as it dives under water.

© Information provided by the artist

Australian Art Department, AGNSW, 2000

Place of origin
Yirrkala, North-east Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia
Year
1959
Media
Bark painting
Medium
natural pigments on bark
Dimensions
153.7 x 38.1 cm
Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Credit
Gift of Dr Stuart Scougall 1959
Accession number
IA60.1959