Etching, 20 x 10 cm, 2019
Birriku are ceremonial fighting sticks that belong to the artists of Wobulkarra Manjikay clan. Senior clan member Raymond Bulambula explains that the fighting sticks are not used for real fighting, but are a shared totem between the two Wobulkarra clans (Wobulkarra Manjikay and Wobulkarra Dhaliny). When the two clans come together for Dhapi (men’s coming of age) or bäpurru (funeral) they perform the Birriku buŋgul (dance).
The two clan Birriku are not the same. Wobulkarra Manjikay Birriku have ends shaped like the tail of the ŋoykal (giant trevally). The linked diamond shapes in this miny’tji (clan design) represent latjin (mangrove worm). Latjin are also a Wobulkarra Manjikay clan totem and an abundant food source on their homeland of Langarra (Howard Island).
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