earth pigments and PVA fixative on bark (Eucalyptus tetradonta)
109.5 x 42.8 cm
Congratulations Kenan Namunjdja in being a finalist in Wynne Prize 2021
Kenan Namunjdja began learning from an early age, living between the Gunbalanya community and Marrkolidjban, the outstation established by his grandfather Peter Marralwanga (1916–1987), who was an important ceremonial leader and accomplished bark painter. Namunjdja’s work is a powerful expression of his knowledge of place, temporality and Kuninjku cosmology.
Here Namunjdja has depicted Ngalyod (the Rainbow Serpent), which is one facet of the marladj djang (orphan dreaming). At a place called Kabbari, two brothers had no parents. One day, the older brother decided to go hunting for goannas, leaving his younger brother alone. The family tried to hush the younger brother by feeding him sweet damper but once he’d finished the portion he started crying again. The little boy’s cries aroused the attention of Ngalyod who became angry at the family’s neglect, turning them into stone.