Dumbi (Sacred Owl), 2022


  • 33.5cm x 42.5cm
  • 2022
  • Linocut Print
  • Catalog No: 2254-22-0063-10/20

Dumbi is an owl which resides in Ngarinyin country. Two boys teased Dumbi after they found his tree knocked over by the wind. Dumbi could not fly away because he was Mayanki oni (cold) and the Wilmi (dew) was sticking his feathers together. The boys plucked out his feathers and threw him in the air three times. Dumbi flew to the Wandjina named Wonarlirri who said he would create a large Ngarlu mindi (flood) to punish the tribe where the boys came from. At a place called Djunbai mindi, the Wandjina gathered a large flock of Karroongkarli/ Kurranda Nyindi (brolgas) who stomped on a huge Nyalgoorro (black soil plain) to create quicksand. The Ngarlu Mindi came and drowned many people and those who tried to escape were lost in the quicksand. The boys were safe because they were on high ground. They were taken there by Mangarra Djirri (Ungud kangaroo) and they traveled on the kangaroo’s tail. Margurrigurri (tata lizard) warned the Wandjina that the boys had escaped. The rain and lightning started to chase the boys and they ran to a hollowed out Latcurry (boab tree). Once they were in the tree, the Wandjina closed it up and they were lost forever. In another version of the story the children are a boy and girl who survive the flood and mate to produce a new tribe.