Maningrida Arts and Culture

Wak Wak by Rosina Gunjarrwanga

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This painting depicts a sacred site at 'Kurrurldul', an outstation south of Maningrida.  

The 'rarrk', or abstract crosshatching, on this work represents the design for the crow totem ancestor called 'Djimarr'. Today this being exists in the form of a rock, which is permanently submerged at the bottom of Kurrurldul Creek. The 'Djimarr' rock in the stream at Kurrurldul is said to move around and call out in a soft hooting tone at night. Both the stone itself and the area around it are considered sacred.  

The imagery represents the rock mentioned above at the bottom of Kurrurldul creek, which is the final transmutation of the dreaming ancestor 'Djimarr'. Finally, the pattern used here is also the crow design used in the sacred 'Mardayin' ceremony, which is a large regional patri-moiety ceremony now rarely conducted in central and eastern Arnhem Land. 

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: Wak Wak
Artist: Rosina Gunjarrwanga
Medium:    Stringybark (Eucalyptus Tetradonta) with Ochre Pigment and PVA Fixative
Dimensions (cm): 86 x 25cm
Catalogue Number: 244-21

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