Body Design I – Djilbunyamorr Waterhole Bodypaint Design


SKU: JB012 Categories: , ,


Johnny Bulunbulun is a senior member of the  of the Ganalbingu group and is one of the most important singers and ceremonial men in north-central Arnhem land. His clan lands lie in the Arafura Swamp area, although he lives with the Burarra people at Wardeja. This painting depicts the Waterhole Djilbunyamorr. This place is where Bulunblun’s two brothers and one sister (deceased) were spiritually conceived. Bulubulun’s mother and father were out hunting geese, and as they walked past this waterhole, the spirit of gumand, the magpie goose, came out and impregnated the mother. Djilibunyamorr was created in the beginning of time by gumang the magpie goose. It is located in the Arafura Swamp region, in the bottom, seaward area, called Gunbarranga. As Bulunbulun says,: “Gunbarranga is biggest name for biggest country for Ganalbingu. For my father and grandfather.” The central horizontal bar represents a dead log at a place called Junggibarparnyamurru, although it can be depicted across paintings of any Ganalbingu country. This log is extremely sacred for the Ganalbingu who are the only ones allowed to paint it. It is associated with a very secret story: “That log has been like – you know, I don’t know, since Dreamtime. It’s my father’s Dreamtime and grandfather’s”. The cross-hatched borders represent the expanses of Ganalbingu country. This design is painted on men’s bodies for ceremonial purposes. The two orange cone-like shapes are painted over the shoulders, representing fire and the fire spirits, or jongke, which burn under the water. The two circular shapes refer to these spirits.

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Weight 1 kg
Dimensions 65 × 9 × 9 cm
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Johnny Bulunbulun



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Northern Editions, Darwin NT


Gilbert Herrada




Arnhem Land