60 x 40 paper, 50 x 30cm image
Story as told by the artist:
Bamurungu, a sacred and solitary rock in the mouth of Trial Bay lies submerged within its waters surrounded by fish; Buku-Dunggulmirri or Wawurritjpal, Sea Mullet. It is set in a field of white seafoam associated with turbulent and agitating waters created by a particular tide and wind. The waters of Gurka’wuy River flow out through Trial Bay past this rock.
The fish depicted jump the ‘trap’ created by the rock in the same way that the soul slips its earthly bonds.
According to the artist these were once people of the stone country behind where the Marrakulu have now settled close to the mouth of the Gurka’wuy River.
Yolngu of this area speak of a hole submerged under the rock, from where bubbles are seen rising to the surface, sometimes bursting forth with a rush. The bubbles are seen as a life force and a direct ancestral connection for the Marrakulu.
When the Marrakulu perform ritual dance for the events depicted in this painting, participants move towards a held spear representing the steadfastness of the rock, splitting the dancers who then surround Bamurrungu moving, as does the sea to song and rhythm of yidaki and bilma.
Bamurrungu is a spiritual focus for an alliance of clans who share identity connected with the felling of the Stringybark tree by the ancestral being Wuyal.
Wuyal the ancestral Sugarbag Man cut the sacred Wanambi (hollowed Stringybark tree) while in Marrakulu clan country, looking for native honey. One such tree was hollow, its falling path gouging the course for the Gurka’wuy River that has flowed ever since into Trial Bay. The Marrakulu sing these events (with other clans) during ceremony associated with the Wawalak myth. In other clan’s lands these actions were repeated.
These groups dance songs of honey flowing like rivers of freshwater from fonts deep in the saltwater under the rock. The rivers belonging to these clans (Marrakulu, Golumala, Marrangu and Wawilak) flow spiritually towards this rock.
Printed June 2012