Gururrin Dhuwal by Daniel Warrulukuma

Gururrin Dhuwal

This painting forms a sort of map for Warralukuma’s mother country, Gururrin. To the bottom, we can see the Glyde river flowing through. In this section of the painting, we see all of the animals which inhabit that region of North East Arnhem land. The baru (crocodile), ratjuk (barramundi), djikarra (catfish), gudurrlke (brolga), gumang (magpie goose) are amongst the many different animals Warralukuma has depicted living in and around the river. Towards the top of the painting we can see more dry land and jungle dwelling animals. The wukutj (goanna), nhebunba (butterfly), mili mili (dragonfly), girarra (ibis), detong (buffalo), gumbal (emu) and gujiji (whistle duck) are all included. All of these animals have special significance for Warralukuma, who counts them as his totems. Warralukuma has inherited the wukutj (goanna), nhebunba and mili mili story from his mother’s side, and is the leader of his clan in performing the dance of these totems. This dance is performed during special ceremonies. Aside from being a map of Gururring country, this painting also tells historical stories. The inclusion of the watdu (dingo) and detong (buffalo) tells the story of animals from Asia and Europe being introduced to Arnhem Land. We can also see some men paddling canoes on the Glyde River. This is the story of when Rolf De Heer came to North East Arnhem Land to film Ten Canoes, which Warralukuma acted in as a young boy. On the left hand side of the painting we see some Yolngu people with spears cooking and eating. This is an indication of the utilitarian value of this painting. By analysing the painting, the viewer is able to work out where one can hunt for gumang eggs in dry season, for banda (turtle) or for ratjuk.