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An image of Bilwoyinj site by Samuel Namunjdja

Samuel Namunjdja

(Australia 1965 – )

Language group
Kuninjku, Arnhem region
Bilwoyinj site
Other titles:
Wind dreaming
Place of origin
MankorlodCentral Arnhem LandNorthern TerritoryAustralia
Media category
Bark painting
Materials used
natural pigments on eucalyptus bark

143.0 x 75.0 cm

Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Mollie Gowing Acquisition Fund for Contemporary Aboriginal Art 2004
Accession number
© Samuel Namunjdja. Licensed by Viscopy, Australia
Not on display
Further information

The artist has painted kunkurra, the spiralling wind associated with several sites in the Kardbam clan estate. On one level, this painting can be interpreted as a depiction of the mini-cyclones common during the wet season in Arnhem Land, where the artist lives. Kunkurra also relates specifically to a site called Bilwoyinj, near Mankorlod, on Namunjdja's clan estate. At this site, two of the most important Kuninjku creation beings, a father and son, known as the Nakorrkko, hunted and ate a goanna. They left some of the goanna fat behind, which turned into the rock that still stands there today.

The word 'Bilwoyinj' - the name of this site - also refers to the goanna fat. The Bilwoyinj site is also a ceremonial ground for Yabbadurruwa, a major ceremony owned by the Yirridjdja patrimoiety. The Yabbadurruwa ceremony is primarily concerned with initiation, land ownership and promoting the cyclical regeneration of the human and natural worlds.

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

Bibliography (3)

Hetti Perkins and Margie West, One sun one moon: Aboriginal art in Australia, Sydney, 2007, 15 (colour illus.).

Hetti Perkins, Crossing country: the alchemy of western Arnhem Land art, Sydney, 2004, 87 (colour illus.), 228-229.

Jill Sykes (Editor), Look, 'Yiribana: a facelift and a new show', pg. 28-31, Newtown, Jul 2005, 31 (colour illus.).

Exhibition history (2)

Crossing country: the alchemy of Western Arnhem Land art, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 24 Sep 2004–12 Dec 2004

One sun, one moon, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 03 Jul 2007–02 Dec 2007