We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.

Title

Gunmirringu - The great hunter

1983

Artist

Dr David Malaŋi

Australia

1927 - 19 Jun 1999

Language group

Manyarrngu, Arnhem region

  • Details

    Other Title
    Gunmirrngu - The great hunter
    Place where the work was made
    Ramingining Central Arnhem Land Northern Territory Australia
    Date
    1983
    Media category
    Sculpture
    Materials used
    natural pigments on carved wood
    Dimensions
    167.0 x 30.0 x 15.0 cm
    Signature & date

    Not signed. Not dated.

    Credit
    Purchased 1984
    Location
    Not on display
    Accession number
    139.1984
    Copyright
    © Malangi Estate. Licensed by Aboriginal Artists Agency Ltd

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Dr David Malaŋi

    Artist profile

    Works in the collection

    19

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  • About

    Manharrngu legend tells of Gurrmirringu, the first people of the Manharrngu people and a particular spirit man; a powerful hunter, law giver and warrior. He roamed the land at Ngurrunyuwa and Mulanga on the eastern bank of the Glyde River hunting and collecting food.

    One day while on a hunting trip and looking north toward the sea as he went along, he could see smoke rising in the distance from the off shore island of Murrungga. He wanted to go to wherever that smoke was coming from and he said to himself: "Yaa, where that fire is burning, I'll go over there and see where it is coming from".

    So he threw the harpoon, but the harpoon didn't go far, it landed in the sea, and where it landed it became a reef that is now called Garangala. (Sometimes it is said that the rock is Gunmirringu himself.) He threw the next harpoon but it drifted eastward and landed at the northern point of the Banyan Island. That point is now called Lunggu Ga Dharra, meaning harpoon that landed. The last harpoon he flew it straight to Murrungga and it landed on the north side of the island in the sea, and where it landed it became the reef that is now called Botha.

    That is how Gunmirringu from Mulanga ended up at Murrungga Island bringing rakay (the nut from sedge rush) and other foods with him to Murrungga Island. That is why they have rakay at Murrungga Island. And so, one story says that he was killed by the bite of the king brown snake, Darrpa. He is associated with the king brown snake, the death adder, the nut from the sedge rush (rakay), the white berry bush (raga) and yams (rongi/maladjakmurru) that he collected.

    Brian Yambal

  • Places

    Where the work was made

    Ramingining

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 6 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 5 publications

Other works by Dr David Malaŋi

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