Gapu moṉuk (#316-18)
Ochre on bark, 70 x 28 cm, 2019
Raymond Bulambula is a Manydjikay Wobulkarra man whose ancestral country includes Bariŋur, Miniṉa and Laŋarra (Howard Island, south of Elcho Island).
In this gamunuŋgu (painting) Bulambula depicts gapu moṉuk (saltwater) in a style that belongs to Bariŋur. Bulambula paints gapu moṉuk in several styles entrusted to him by his father. In this piece, gapu moṉuk (salt water) mixes with gapu raypiny (fresh water) to make dhäkay mulkthuna (cloudy water). Bulambula explains that the fresh water travels from another clan estate in the south and meets with the gapu moṉuk, the saltwater of his country, at Bariŋur.
Bulambula says that this gamunuŋgu is painted on the chests of men during Ŋärra (cleansing) and Dhapi (circumcision) ceremonies. He adds that the way it is depicted here is for public viewing and that when painted for private use, the gamunuŋgu is painted in a different way. Bulambula says, “This gamunuŋgu is from my ancestors from a long time ago and still we are painting it today.”
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