Banda (Long Neck Turtle) by Daniel Warrulukuma

Banda (Long Neck Turtle)

The long necked turtle is a dreaming totem for the freshwater people of the Arafura Wetlands in Central Arnhem Land, Northern Territory. The Yolngu (people) of Arnhem Land originate from a spiritual source, fixed in a particular place in their land or the sea. These ‘Spiritual Reservoirs’ are often in the form of special waterholes made by Wangarr (Creative Beings), long ago close to the beginning of time. These creator beings moved across the country side, shaping the land and implanting in each tract of country, the spiritual life force for the people who were to own it.These Creative Spirits took many forms. When they gave the land to each group they also gave songs, dances, ceremony, the associated laws and language. This painting depicts one such totem animal. Daniel Warrulukuma has painted a banda (long-neck turtle) laying litja (eggs). The fine cross-hatched raark work represents water.