Andrew Wanamilil

Warrnyu Dhawu laba (Flying Fox Story leader), 2022

61 × 87 cm
This painting depicts the significant creation story of the Ganalbingu people.

Back in the creation time, Warrnyu (Flying Foxes) once lived in a cave at a place called Kurrki Warrnyu Yirri Djaringal. One day Djanyarr (The Dog), an ancestral being in the form of a man, came along. He was looking around for a place to live. Djanyarr heard the sound of Warrnyu screaming. He went down to the cliff and pushed a rock when water began to flow out across Ganalbingu country, at a place called Gurrkawakarrmurr. He then went into the cave and into the sacred hole, frightening all the Warrnyu away. When Djanyarr went into the hole he left his dilly bag in a tree and followed his way out to thr other side of the sacred cave, leaving his spear and woomera behind. Djanyarr made three streams flowing in to the cave. Two of these streams are good drinking water but the middle stream is sacred water. No one is allowed to drink from the middle stream, If they do it is believed they will go grey too early.

At Kurrki Warrnyu Yirri Ngilaya Djaringal, the Warrnyu made himself into a young man, which Yolngu people continue to do today. They have ceremonies and dances to make young boys into men. The songs are called Yirrarwu, Gulumu, Rruburra and Burryun. Dhapi (initiation ceremony) happen today because the Warrnyu (Flying Fox) people performed them a long time ago before the Yolgnu people. It was the Warrnyu people who first performed circumcision of the young boys to make them into men. It all happened at Kurrki Warrnyu Yirri Ngilaya Djaringal, this is how this place got its name.

This painting also depicts the ceremonial leader (laba) for this totem, with the traditional body paint.
Andrew is an early career artist who has progressed rapidly in a short space of time with his painting techniques and unique composition style. He is the son of renowned artist Bobby Bununggurr and continues to paint storylines and songlines connected to their Ganalbingu clan.
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