Jack WUNUWUN, Barnumbirr the Morning Star Enlarge 1 /1

Jack WUNUWUN

Murrungun people

Australia 1930 – 1991

Barnumbirr the Morning Star [Banumbirr, the Morning Star] 1987 Place made: Maningrida, Central Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia
Materials & Technique: paintings, bark paintings, natural earth pigments on eucalyptus bark

Dimensions: 178.0 h x 125.0 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1987
Accession No: NGA 87.1546
Image rights: © Jack Wunuwun. Licensed by Viscopy

The essence of the cosmology of the Murrungun people is captured in the three panels of this painting. They represent the latter phases of the wet season, which stand as a metaphor for concepts of transition: from procreation and birth, through life to death and the afterlife; from the ancestral realm to physical existence on earth and back again.

The yam plant on the right—in full bloom in the second half of the wet season (Mayaltha)—stands for Barnumbirr the Morning Star, which is kept in a dilly bag by sky-dwelling ancestors who release it each morning to herald the new day. The Star is attached to a feathered string, symbolised by the vine of the plant. The tubers that ripen at the end of the wet season (Midawar) are shown in cross-section: the white, crosshatched tubers are new growth, while the dark spotted tubers are old or rotten, reflecting life and death.

The shape of the white tubers imitates the human form—a vertical body with limbs—as do the forms of the ceremonial poles in the centre panel. Each decorated pole is crested with a fan of feathers, and strings with feather tassels, or stars.

The transition from life to death is implied by the woven fish-trap on the left. The trap is symbolic of a catcher of the souls. During Midawar, the rivers of Arnhem Land swell and run. Fish that had gone up-river to spawn now rush towards the coast and are caught in conical fish-traps. Ever the innovator, Wunuwun was the first Murrungun painter to depict the transparency of a fish-trap in bark painting.

Wally Caruana


Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
From: Franchesca Cubillo and Wally Caruana (eds) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art: collection highlights National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2010

杰克·乌那万(Jack Wunuwun)
《启明星巴南比尔》(Barnumbirr the Morning Star)
[巴南比尔,启明星(Banumbirr, the Morning Star)] 1987年
澳大利亚北领地中阿纳姆地马宁格力达
绘画,树皮画,桉树皮,天然颜料
178.0 (高) x 125.0 (宽)厘米
1987年购买
收录号:NGA 87.1546
©杰克·乌那万。Viscopy授权

这幅画的三个嵌板抓住了穆朗冈人(Murrungun)宇宙学的精髓;它们代表湿季的后期阶段,象征过渡概念:从繁殖生育,经历一生,到死和来世;从祖界到有形存在,再回归祖界。

右侧的山药植物——时值湿季后半段(玛雅尔塔[Mayaltha]),植物生长茂盛——代表启明星巴南比尔,居住在天上的祖先将启明星收纳在一个网兜里,每天早上放出来,以通报新一天的开始。山药植物藤象征栓系启明星的羽毛装饰线。截面显示了湿季结束(米达瓦尔[Midawar])时成熟的山药块茎:留白的阴影块茎是新长成的,而黑斑点块茎是往年生的或已腐烂,反映了生与死。

白色块茎的形状模仿了人形:四肢齐全的站立人体,就像中间嵌板里仪式杆的构形一样。每根杆子的顶部饰有羽毛扇,以及带有羽毛流苏的线,或星星。

左侧的编织捕鱼笼暗指生死转换。笼子象征灵魂捕获者。米达瓦尔时期,阿纳姆地的河流水位上涨,滚滚流淌。生长于河流上游已达产卵期的鱼,纷纷涌向海岸,被圆锥形的捕鱼笼捉住。曾经的创新者,乌那万是第一个用树皮画描绘捕鱼笼透明性的穆朗冈画家。

Wally Caruana
瓦里·卡鲁阿那


Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra