Senior weaver Helen Ganalmirriwuy’s woven gunga mat has a lustrous charcoal tone. The colour “Mul” (Black) is derived from a process involving fibres from an shrub that grows in the dry eucalyptus forests, it is harvested from Yurrwi and the homelands.
Gunga belongs to the Dhuwa moiety and grows throughout east Arnhem Land in woodlands and sand dunes. The central growing spike of leaves is harvested from the crown and processed for weaving. The leaf is folded in half length ways and the fine serrated edges and central spin are removed. This is done by running a fingernail or sharp needle down each side of the folded leaf. This action creates two pieces that are then peeled by pulling their front and back away from each other to expose the inner membrane of the leaf.
After harvesting and preparing the gunga Ganalmirriwuy has dried the material using plant materials also collected locally. Guninyi (stinky cheese fruit or Morinda Citrifolia) belongs to the Yirritja moiety. The roots of the Guninyi tree have a thick layer of yellow wood under the outer bark. Ganalmirriwuy has added ash to her Guninyi dye pot to achieve the strong orange colour of this piece.