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Liyagalawumirr people

Ramingining, central Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia born 1933 /1937

Warrala Warrala 1987 Place made: Ramingining, Central Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia
Materials & Technique: paintings, bark paintings, natural earth pigments on eucalyptus bark

Dimensions: 180.0 h x 100.0 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1987
Accession No: NGA 87.1041
Image rights: © Philip Gudthaykudthay. Licensed by Viscopy

Warrala Warrala is the Praying Mantis spirit or Mewal. The presence of the spirit with Wititj the Olive Python and yams in this picture identifies it with the ancestral Wagilag Sisters narrative, which chronicles the first monsoon and links Dhuwa moiety clans in central and eastern Arnhem Land through ceremony.

This work is a characteristic example of Gudthaykudthay’s distinctive style where figurative elements are juxtaposed with a dense matrix of fine rarrk. The artist’s typically ungainly figures, fluidly drawn in profile and aerial perspectives, sit amid fields of rarrk, shifting in direction and energy, to create a swirl of movement. The black circle drawn in Mewal’s head evokes the waterhole that is the home of the ancestral Wititj, where he encountered the Wagilag Sisters who had camped there.

A number of Gudthaykudthay’s bark paintings—almost entirely made up of dense rarrk—brought him to the attention of the art world in the early 1980s, when artists from Ramingining were gaining prominence. Gudthaykudthay began painting at Milingimbi in the 1960s under the tutelage of senior artists. When he moved to Ramingining his work was selected for national and international exhibitions.

Known colloquially as ‘Pussycat’ after one of his principal totems, Burruwara the Native Cat, Gudthaykudthay has worked as a stockman, fencer and crocodile hunter. The enigmatic Pussycat has even acted in a movie, playing the sorcerer in Rolf de Heer’s film Ten canoes in 2006.

Susan Jenkins

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

格待格待·菲利普 (GUDTHAYKUDTHAY, Philip)
《螳螂神》(Warrala Warrala)
180.00(高) x 100.00(宽)厘米

Warrala Warrala 是螳螂神,也称Mewal。画作中,与巨蟒(Wititj)巴布亚蟒(Olive Python)和山药共同呈现的螳螂神与祖传的瓦基拉姐妹(Wagilag Sisters)故事一致,故事记录了第一个雨季,并通过仪式将中部与东部阿纳姆地的杜瓦(Dhuwa)分支部落联系起来。




Susan Jenkins

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra