Artist: MATTHEW DJIPURRTJUN
Size/ medium: 55 x 16cm / PAINTING – Ochre on Bark
The Lidji-Lidji (zebra finch) is a Malibirr Ganalbiŋu miny’tji (ceremonial clan design) that comes from their ancestral homeland at Ŋaliyindi billabong on the edge of the Arafura Swamp. This site is a yindi yaku wäŋa, or big name place, meaning it is a significant site associated with the travels of the Malibirr Ganalbiŋu waŋarr (ancestors). It is an intersection point of many Malibirr manikay (ancestral songlines) that run through their clan estate and connect them with other clan groups through their riŋgitj (clan alliance or nations).
Here Lidji-Lidji is at the freshwater of Ŋaliyindi. In the background is a type of mulmu (native grass) that grows at the edge of the billabong. The dots on the spine of the mulmu are spikey and are ŋatha (food) for Lidji-Lidji. As shown in this painting, Lidji-Lidji can be identified by it’s iconic coloured dashes that are on their chest and under their wings.
This design relates to a manikay that is sung and danced at bäpurru (mortuary rites), dhäpi (boy’s initiation ceremony) and Ŋärra (cleansing law ceremony). The design can also be painted on the chest of attendees at these buŋgul (ceremony).
Told by Matthew Djipurrtjun. Recorded by Max Moon 29/03/2022