Gulach (Spike Rush) and Jaran.gich (King Brown Snake) by Greg Wilson

Gulach (Spike Rush) and Jaran.gich (King Brown Snake)

Greg Wilson is the son of artist Terry Ngamandara, who was a senior custodian of the Gun-gulol Gu-rrenyjinga group of clans, which includes his own clans Girnimba and Garramirra. These clans are all land owners for different areas of the large swamp called Barlparnarra which lies to the north-west of Gochan Jiny-jirra outstation on the Cadell River. Barlparnarra is a complex of important sacred sites for the Jowunga moiety group throughout central Arnhem Land. It is associated with the creation myth of the two sisters, which has a number of versions celebrated throughout Arnhem Land. The sisters are commonly known as Djangkawu, but in the Barlparnarra version they are called Murlurlu. Many dreaming tracks of mythological beings associated with the two sisters converge at this site and ceremonies which celebrate their journeys are still held there.

The artist has depicted a key emblem for the Gun-gulol Gu-rrenyjinga clans. It is a design for gulach, the spike rush, also known as water chestnut (Eleocharis dulcis) that dominates the Barlparnarra swamp country. The emblem appears as triangular motifs which cover the entire painting. The spike rush plant has edible corms which form a food source for magpie geese, a key swamp game animal. People also dig and eat the sweet corms.