Maningrida Arts and Culture

Buluwana at Dilebang by Apphia Wurrkidj Aphi Lindjuwanga

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The Kuninjku people of Arnhem Land tell of a time when their ancestors suffered a terrible drought. People living in the rocky outlier region near the middle Mann River dug wells to get water until these, too dried up. Then they obtained water by cutting the trunks of Melaleuca trees called djidjdjerok which store brackish water inside. When these trees were exhausted, people were surviving only on wild honey. Eventually people died of thirst. The bones of these people are said to be those found in the caves of the escarpment country of Western Arnhem Land in the Mann River district. In the ancestral time of creation was a great drought. During this time Buluwana and her family camped at Ngandarrayo on Kurulk clan land. They were weak from thirst and close to death. The malevolent gigantic form of the Death Adder snake confronted the group. Buluwana attempted to run away with the rest of her family but was crushed and turned to stone. Today an arrangement of rocks standing in the ground remains as Buluwana’s present day form.

Maningrida comes from the Ndjébbana phrase mane djang karrirra, meaning ‘the place where the totemic ancestors transformed.’ The community is located in Central Arnhem Land, a region defined by linguistic and cultural diversity, home to twelve language groups, 110 clans and 32 outstations or homelands. 

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Title: Buluwana at Dilebang
Artist: Apphia Wurrkidj Aphi Lindjuwanga
Medium: Stringybark (Eucalyptus Tetradonta) with Ochre Pigment and PVA Fixative
Dimensions (cm): 122 x 34cm
Catalogue Number: 1542-19

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