Deborah Yulidjirri

Kunkurra (The Spiralling Wind), 2022

40 × 88 cm
‘Kunkurra’, the spiralling wind is associated with several sites in the Kardbam clan estate. On one level, this painting can be interpreted as a depiction of the kinds of mini-cyclones common during the wet season in Arnhem Land, where the artist lives. In this painting, Kunkurra also relates specifically to a site called Bilwoyinj, near Mankorlod. At this site, two of the most important Kuninjku creation beings, a father and son known as na-korrkko, are believed to have hunted and eaten a goanna. They left some of the goanna fat behind at the site, which turned into the rock that still stands there today. The word Bilwoyinj, which is the name of this site, also refers to the fat of the goanna. Bilwoyinj site is also a ceremonial ground for a ceremony called Yabbaduruwa, a major ceremony owned by the Yirridja patrimoiety. The Yabbaduruwa ceremony is primarily concerned with initiation, land ownership and promoting the cyclical regeneration of the human and natural worlds.

Deborah Yulidjirri is the daughter of acclaimed Kunwinjku artist T. Yulidjirri (1930-2009) and learnt to paint on bark and carved wooden sculptures under his tutelage.

She was wife to S. Namunjdja (1965 – 2018) and paints the themes of her husband’s country such as Kunkurra (Cold spiralling wind) and Ngalng (Freshwater Yabby). Similar to her husband, her uses and application of ochres are incredibly fine in the West Arnhem style. Her artworks glow.

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