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Willie Nabulwad
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Artwork Description

Willie has painted Lorrkon. Lorrkon are the hollow logs used as burial poles in parts of West Arnhem Land. When the body was decomposed, the bones were painted with red ochre, wrapped in paperpark and placed in the Lorrkon. "Dang", pieces of string made from kurrajong bark and painted with beeswax and white ochre, were sent out as message sticks to advise people that a ceremony was on. At the end of the ceremony, they were tied to the Lorrkon. Women would dance around the Lorrkon, and seated people sang. Lorrkon were painted with designs relating to the deceased person. The bones could be taken out and placed in the lorrkon again several times. Until the process was finished, people participating in the ceremony were called "Limbidj", and were not allowed to eat Ngalmangiyi (Long-Necked Turtle). If they did, their hands would become crippled.

Kunwinjku art is part of the oldest continuous art tradition in the world. Ancestors of today’s artists have been painting the rock walls of West Arnhem Land for tens of thousands of years. The traditional palette of white, red, yellow and black comes from the ochre that naturally occurs in the region, although contemporary artists sometimes choose to paint in acrylics as well. Kunwinjku artists famously paint using either the traditional rarrk hatching technique, or the more contemporary and complex cross hatching technique which has been adapted from ceremonial painting. These lines are painted using a manyilk, which is a piece of sedge grass shaved down until only a few fibres remain.

Artists at Injalak Art Centre have been painting on Arches 640gsm handmade watercolour paper since it was introduced as a medium by American art collecter John W. Kluge in 1990 when he commissioned a suite of paintings for the Kluge-Ruhe Collection at the University of Virginia, USA. It is archival quality and has an organic texture that mimics the natural surface of bark, making it an excellent alternative in West Arnhem Land where trees suitable for bark harvesting are much sparser than other areas of the Top End of Australia.

This painting needs to be framed. It’s also being sent direct from the artist at a remote art centre, Injalak Arts, in the top end. Please note there is only one mail plane a week that takes the artwork to Gunbalanya. The tracking information is then received a week later when the mail plane returns so often the paintings are delivered before we receive the tracking information. Please expect a slightly longer wait for this very special artwork to arrive.

Medium

Acrylic on Arches paper

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Unframed (requires framing)

This artwork is currently unframed and requires framing.

#lorrkon, #west arnhem, #burial poles, #ceremony, #injalak
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