Yalanba Wanambi's - Gurka'wuy


Yalanba Wanambi's - Gurka'wuy

This painting is about Wuyal, the ancestral sugarbag man, an important ancestor of the Marrakulu clan of the northeast Arnhem Land. This painting symbolizes his journey during which he named important sites and certain animals. The story refers also to the continuation of the Marrakulu culture in dance, song and ceremony, which are performed by current generations who have inherited this knowledge and culture from ancestral figures such as Wuyai. This story refers also to important Dhuwa moiety ancestors called the Wawilak sisters.

Wuyal was the first man to look for any homeland for the Marrakulu people. He began a journey from Gurka'wuy travelling via Yuduyudu to Cape Shield, up to Trial Bay and along the course of the Goyder River until he came to Nhulun, or Mt.Saunders. Travelling along with Wuyal, was Ganyt'jalala. These men are symbolic of the Mari-Guthara (grandparent-grandchild) relationship which describes the relationship between Datiwuy and Marrakulu clans.

Wuyal carried with him tools for hunting animals and for collecting wild honey or sugarbag. The dilly bag, Banduk, worn around his neck, was used to carry the sugarbag called guku. Wuyal used a stone axe,djalpat, to cut down trees in his search for sugarbag. He also carried a stone headed spear for hunting rock wallabies, Dulaku. The stone head of the spear,Guyarra, is made from stone found at a place called Nilipitji. The shaft of the spear is called gundit. Also carried was galpu, a spear thrower.

In their ancestral travels these men travelled alone without wives and conducted what was mens' business in ceremony. Wuyal's ceremonial ground where he danced and conducted sacred ceremony, a place near Buffalo Creek and Mt. Saunders, is called Wandjipuy.


Size:  92cm x 30cm

Medium: Earth pigments on Stringybark