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

Mulkuṉ Wirrpanda Djuḏutjuḏumun djinawa guṉḏirrŋura (pardalotes nesting inside termite mound)

natural pigments on bark (Eucalyptus tetradonta)

168 x 85 cm

These idiosyncratic tall, thin, grey, slab-like magnetic termite mounds are almost flatly two dimensional and oriented north-south so they receive the warmth of the eastern and western sun but don’t suffer the extreme heat of midday. The termites, munyukuluŋu, are eusocial. This is the highest form of communality and includes sharing the care of their offspring. These insects feed the ecosystem, including the forest itself, and also live in balance with others, including ferocious meat ants, ŋäḏi, which often share their nest. Even the tiny birds known as pardalotes, or djuḏutjuḏumun, nest within these constructions.

Mulkuṉ Wirrpanda, 2020