Djan'kawul and the sun woman

Wandjuk MARIKA: artist

No image available

Not On Display

About the work

This is a beautiful series of barks by a master painter, Wandjuk, the son of the great Mawalan.
This bark is part of one of the major myths. It depicts the arrival of the Djanggawul sisters and brother in Arnhem Land and their journeys. They were the progenitors of the aboriginal tribes. At the top are shown two yellow ellipses with white bands at the ends. These indicate Walu, the sun, who was also Djanggawul’s wife.
As the sisters and their brother traveled from Brolga, the Island of the Dead, the sun woman sent herbanners of light across the waters to guide and guard them. The parallel lines opposite the sun, represent its rays reflected on the water. The two white lines represent the string of parakeet feathers on her neck and on her waist.
In three of the upper panels are shown the Casuarina trees (Murinja) created when the Djanggawul left the sacred rangga on the ground. The rangga are shown on the right and left panels, third from the top. The small ovoid shapes in the right upper panels depict sand dollars and the tracks they left as they moved up the beach in the receding tide. The parallel bars are the light reflecting from the sand ridges on the beach.
Djan'kawul and the sun woman
Artist/Maker and role
Wandjuk MARIKA: artist
c 1959
ochres on eucalyptus bark
153.3 x 54 cm
Credit line
Purchased through the Western Australian Government, 1988
The State Art Collection, The Art Gallery of Western Australia
Accession number

This is one of the bark paintings in our collection.