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Don Namundja
Don Namundja

Gunbalanya, Western Arnhem Land, NT, Australia

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Artwork Description

Other Media on paper

Signed with a certificate of authenticity

Various animals and plants have cultural significance to the Kunwinjku people who live in Western Arnhem Land in the ‘Top End’ of Australia. The Burarr, or Water Goanna, inhabits the wetland areas of Western Arnhem Land that include billabongs, rivers and floodplains. The Burarr has a streamlined body and paddle-shaped tail, which differentiates it from land goannas. They are frequently hunted for their tasty white flesh, and their eggs are also sought after as an excellent food source- these are found in their dens which can be a hollow log or a dug out burrow.
The burarr has been depicted in the classic Kunwinjku ‘x-ray’ style with internal organs showing. The cross-hatching technique used for the in-fill is called rarrk.
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.


Ochre on Arches paper

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Unframed (requires framing)

This artwork is currently unframed and requires framing.

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#goanna, #west arnhem, #ochre, #injalak, #lizard
(CreativeWork) Mimih Spirit Hunting 1800-18 by Don Namundja. #<Filter:0x00007f59e0bc27a8>. Shop online at Bluethumb.(CreativeWork) Wakkewakken (Sugarbag Woman), 468­-16 by Don Namundja. #<Filter:0x00007f59e0be4740>. Shop online at Bluethumb.(CreativeWork) Burarr (Water Goanna), 696-16 by Don Namundja. #<Filter:0x00007f59e0c173e8>. Shop online at Bluethumb.(CreativeWork) Ngalmangiyi (Long-Necked Turtle), 10856-11 by Don Namundja. #<Filter:0x00007f59e0c8c7d8>. Shop online at Bluethumb.

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