natural earth pigments on bark
74 x 21 cm
Guruwana Story Namiyal usually paints about her homeland, the rocky salt-water country east of Ramingining called Gurruwana. She also paints the surrounding environments [Hutchinson Strait area]. Elements of the Guruwana story (which tells of the creation of the Milky Way) are depicted in this painting. Guruwana is a sacred locality of the Liyagalawumirr people. It is located on a narrow peninsula that extends into the sea, near Galiwin'ku (Elcho Island) and Howard Island. Here living in the mud in deep water lives the Sacred Python. He is surrounded by oysters (wayanaka - not depicted in this work). The water goanna (Djanda) lives with him. Djungaliwarr (conch shell) was living in the mud amongst the oysters when the great Python came to Guruwana. The conch shell made its way along the mud and made its permanent home at the bottom in the saltwater. The Wayanaka stayed where they were and the great snake moved in between the oysters and Djungaliwarr. In ceremony, the conch shells belong with badurru (hollow log). Badurru also means the Milky Way. The fish, fish bones and scales, conch shells, python and the black crow (wak) all belong to badurru, the Milky Way. The wak came and took the hollow log coffin away and flew into the heavens. The hollow log coffin can now be seen as the Milky Way. This story is an outside story. The inside story is men's business.