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Nawurapu Wunuŋmurra

natural ochre on bark
175 x 73 cm
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The sun rises and sets, painting the clouds. The spirits are born and die, to be reborn once more. Makassan friends from Indonesia visit for trade, arriving with the northern monsoon and departing on the winds associated with bulunu (the south-east cloud formations that bring rain). This painting charts the Djapana song cycle (Djapana means ‘sunset’ in Yolŋu matha or language, and ‘farewell’ in Bugis, an Indonesian dialect). The anvil and triangular shapes are clouds, pregnant women and the sails of red prau (an Indonesian fishing boat). This takes place at the marŋarr (an ancestral Makassan port) in Nawurapu Wunuŋmurra’s Dhalwaŋu clan at Gurrumuru, upstream from Arnhem Bay. He died days after submitting this work. He declined medical treatment, confident of returning.

Buku-Larrŋgay Mulka Centre, Yirrkala, NT, 2018