Australia 1927 – 1999
Manharrngu mortuary rites (2)
1969 Description: goanna and human figure diagonally centre right, catfish centre left, plant forms with white berries
Place made: Milingimbi, central Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia
Materials & Technique: paintings, bark paintings, natural pigments on eucalyptus bark
The wurrumbuku [white berry tree] identifies Gurrmirringu’s presence. He harvested fruit and scattered the berries across the landscape including the nearby islands of Garangala and Mooroonga.
The significance of the wurrumbukuin association with Gurrmirringu is expressed by Malangi in a number of ways. The berries are sometimes scattered across the background of the painting as well as aligned with the tree’s leaves. In sculptural work, the berry tree and the figure of Gurrmirringu become synonymous, with berries adorning the figure.
The white berry tree became a signature design for Malangi.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra