Gurmarrwuy #2 Yunupingu
Colour reduction linocut
Image: 34 x 29cm, Paper: 51 x 49cm BFK Rives
As told by the artist:
‘The design is Gurtha (fire). It represents the Yothu Yindi (mother and child). The orange represents the yothu (child). The charcoal represents the ŋandi (mother).’
The totemic significance of fire to the Yunupiŋu family of the Gumatj clan is paramount. It is said that the Gumatj clan language, Dhuwalandja, is itself the tongue of flame. This language, or tongue, like the flame, cuts through all artifice. It incinerates dishonesty leaving only the bones of the truth
In ancestral times, the leaders of Yirritja moiety clans used fire for the first time during a ceremony at Ngalarrwuy in Gumatj country. This came about as fire brought to the Madarrpa clan country by Bäru the ancestral crocodile, spread north and swept through the ceremonial ground. From this ceremonial ground the fire spread further to other sites. Various ancestral animals were affected and reacted in different ways. These animals became sacred totems of the Gumatj people.
Clans owning connected parts of this sequence of ancestral events share variations of this diamond design.
This is a Fire of supernatural intensity. So powerful that it transforms the land it touched for all time. Its identity is etched into every atom of Gumatj land.