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© Namiyal Bopirri/ Licensed by Viscopy, 2017

Oyster Beds / Wayanaka

Date: 1990
Overall: 1715 x 655 mm, 6.3 kg
Display Dimensions: 1740 x 665 x 9 mm, 6300 kg
Medium: Ochre pigment, bark
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Copyright: © Namiyal Bopirri
Object Name: Bark painting
Object No: 00015711

User Terms

    A painting on bark by Namiyal Boporri titled 'Oyster Beds / Wayanaka'.

    Many of Namiyal's images, such as this painting, come from the Wagilag Sisters creation story, one of the most important creation myths of this region. Wayanaka are features of Boporri's rocky salt-water country east of Ramingining on the mainland side of Huchinson Strait in Central Arnhem Land.

    Clan: Birritjama,
    Language: Liyagalawumirri.

    SignificanceIn addition to carving and weaving, Namiyal Boporri is also a highly regarded weaver, a skill she learnt from her mother. Her work focusus on stories from her salt-water country in Central Arnhem Land.
    HistoryNamiyal Boporri's bark painting 'Oyster Beds / Wayanaka and Rocks' shows the rock, Guruwana, covered with oysters or 'wayanaka'. It is the story of a man who dreamt he was a rock and wakes up to find himself covered with oysters.
    Boporri usually paints her Liyagalawummirri clan designs on hollow log coffins or 'dupun' which she also carves herself, but in this case has painted them on bark. She always paints stories from her clan's land. On the map this area is the Hutchison Strait between Howard Island and the mainland. The Strait is really a mud flat with a rock platform protruding out of it. When the tide changes the rock is surrounded by the white foam of waves. This rock is called Guruwana and the spirits of the Liyagalawumirri people reside there.
    Most of Boporri's painting are of this place called Guruwana, her family or clan's country in Central Arnhem Land. The history of this area is told in the Wajilaj Sisters creation stories.
    Boporri was born in 1929, but she has only been painting since 1989 when her husband Tony Djikululu, suffered a stroke. Djikululu wanted her to finish painting the stories he had started.The stories he had been painting were her families stories which he had gained the right to paint when he married Boporri. It was Djikululu who taught her how to paint and he still talks to her about basic composition.

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