Thomas Dhabural

Emerging Artist

The artist has depicted his märi’s (mother’s mother) Warrawarra clan Warrabunbun dreaming. Warrabunbun, or in his märi’s Burarra language, Wuypa, inhabits Gamurrguyurra, located on the mainland to the west of Milingimbi. He is not the spirit of a person, but a maḻagatj, a supernatural being that looks after Warrawarra country. He goes in the early morning from Gamurrguyurra down to a waterhole called Muḻmuḻma to get water. He hides in the shade, and can sometimes be heard whistling or calling out. He has white and black spots on his body, and eats dhaŋgi (billygoat plum) and warraga (cycad nuts). The design on his body in this print is the Warrawarra design which is painted onto the chests of young Warrawarra boys during Dhapi initiation ceremonies. Sometimes Warrabunbun is depicted with a broken leg, as he was speared when attempting to protect his land from invaders. 

In this work he is carrying a gara (hunting spear) and a burlupurr (the Burarra word for dilly bag). The vine depicted on each side of him is the Yirritja yam, known in Burarra as jamandarr.

Six months after creating this work, at the age of 41, the artist passed away suddenly. In recognition of his role as senior custodian of his märi’s Warrawarra clan, this artwork and its associated Dreaming has been closed. This miny’tji will not be made again until a leader of equal strength and knowledge comes of age.


Language group
Burarra, Djambarrpuyngu


Langarra, (Howard Island)

Milingimbi Art and Culture Aboriginal Corporation

The Milingimbi Art and Culture Aboriginal Corporation is a community owned Art Centre that maintains an important position in the national art and cultural arena. Milingimbi Art and Culture has a long history of producing works steeped in active cultural practice such as barks, ceremonial poles, carvings and weavings. Works from Milingimbi are integral to important collections in many National and International institutions.


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