Making the Marratjiri at the Kluge Ruhe – Marratjiri are made as gifts by one clan to give to another

During Raymond and Miss Gorryindi’s residency at the Kluge Ruhe, University of Viriginia, they have demonstrated how to make a Marratjiri. Marratjiri are made as gifts by one clan to give to another. For this one, Miss Gorryindi (Dhuwa) harvested bark fiber from the Bulgurr tree and hand-spun about thirty yards of bush string on her thigh, twisting and plying the fiber at the same time. For the white Fluffy sections, she spun feathers with the fiber to create a feathered string. Her husband Raymond Bulambula (Yirritja) harvested the wood for the pole, wrapped the string around it while tucking in rainbow lorikeet feathers, and finally painted certain sections. He was also responsible for making the ‘flowers’ that hang off the pole, which are made from cockatoo feathers, lorikeet feathers and guku galinyin (native bees wax). They represent food that is eaten by the mulunda (seagull).

The designs painted over the string are associated with the mulunda, which sits on a sacred rock named Naliya Gunda, on the northern side of Rapuma Island, close to Milingimbi. The arrows represent its tracks, and the dots represent its excrement.

Miss Gorryindi is the Bungawa (boss) of this particular story, while Bulambula is considered the Djungaya (manager) of it; these roles determine the various responsibilities that each has in its creation as members of complimentary moieties (Dhuwa and Yirritja).