Creation Story, 2020


  • 90cm x 120cm
  • 2020
  • Ochre On Canvas
  • Catalog No: 2254-20-0128

The three tribes are the Worrora, Wunumbul and Ngarinyin. The three tribes represent the Wandjina who made them what they are today. They’re from the North Kimberley region of Western Australia. The area that makes up the three tribes starts from Oobagooma which is 150km north of the coast of Derby, east across towards inland to Iminji and all the way up to Kalumburru. The tribes have travelled, moved and lived together and share similar stories, culture and language with different dialects. They still follow the law, culture and language of the land today carrying on strong and sharing it.From left to right we have Wannalirri (Ngarinyin) Wandjina. He was the Wandjina that brought all the Wandjina’s together to send the big flood to drown the people, because of what the children had done to the Dumbi the owl.The Wandjina in the centre is called Namarali (Worrora) Wandjina. He is the only one with spears sticking out of his head. Namarali stole a wife of one of the other Wandjinas and they both ran away to the coast to a place called Langi. The husband of the women rounded up the other Wandjinas and they went after the two and caught up with them at Langi and they surrounded him (Namarali). They all threw their spears at him and as he was dying he told them to bury him in the sand but bury him on the nearby hill. To this day you can see the rock formations of the Wandjinas at the battle at Langi, and Namarali is the biggest rock of them all.The third Wandjina on the right is Rimmijmurra (Wunambul). This Wandjina likes stealing so thats how it got his name.
This painting is of the Jilinya woman who is the mother of all people. She is like the first woman (Eve). The man and woman who are painted are the people that brought gifts such as mungarri (bush food) and animals to her.
Dumbi is an owl who resides in Ngarinyin country. A boy and a girl teased Dumbi and plucked out his feathers. He then flew to the Wandjina Wodjin who said he would create a large flood to punish the tribe from where the boy and girl came. At a place called Wanalirri, the Wandjina gathered a large flock of brolgas which stomped on a huge black soil plain to create quicksand. The flood came and drowned many people; those who tried to escape were lost in the quicksand. The boy and girl were safe because they were on high ground, they were taken there by a kangaroo, and they travelled on the kangaroo’s tail. A tata lizard called Gunarda warned the Wandjina that the boy and the girl had escaped. The rains and lightening started to chase the boy and girl and they ran to a hollowed out boab tree. Once they were in the tree, the Wandjina closed it up and they were lost for ever. In another version of the story the boy and girl survive the flood and mate to produce a new tribe. The Ungud (totem) snake is the one that made the rivers and holds water. If they are disturbed then they will kill whoever disturbs them.