Gungara (The Spiralling Wind) by Yvette Namunjdja

Gungara (The Spiralling Wind)

Samuel Namunjdja has painted ‘gungura’, the spiralling wind associated with several sites in the Kardbam clan. On one level, this painting can be interpreted as a depiction of the kinds of mini-cyclones common during the wet season in Arnhem Land, where the artist lives. In this painting, gungura also relates specifically to a site called Bilwoyinj, near Mankorlod, on Samuel Namunjdja’s clan estate.

At this site, two of the most important Kuninjku creation beings, a father and son known as na-korrkko, are believed to have hunted and eaten a goanna. They left some of the goanna fat behind at the site, which turned into the rock that still stands there today. The word Bilwoyinj, which is the name of this site, also refers to the fat of the goanna. Bilwoyinj site is also a ceremonial ground for a ceremony called Yabbaduruwa, a major ceremony owned by the Yirridja patrimoiety. The Yabbaduruwa ceremony is primarily concerned with initiation, land ownership and promoting the cyclical regeneration of the human and natural worlds.