Guku Galinyin (Yirritja Bee Hive and Honey Body Paint Design)
Etching, 20 x 10 cm, 2019
This design belongs Gupapuyŋu people of the Yirritja moiety. It is used for body painting in the Ŋarra men’s ceremony and Dhapi (‘making man’) ceremony. When the Ŋarra ceremony is finished Yirritja participants dance to the salt water and are cleansed by people of the Dhuwa moiety who splash them, washing the body paint off.
The central diamond pattern in the work represents Guku Galanyin (bush honey wax). The sharp triangular shapes at the centre top indicate the ‘nose’ of the Galanyin (bee hive) that protrudes from the hive and can be seen on the outside of a tree which hosts it. The rarrk (cross hatching) on either side is the flowing guku (honey), while the solid shaded block at the base of the work is the dhurrdi dharpa (tree stump) which is symbolic of the importance of foundational knowledge held by Gupapuyngu people. The raki (string) with feather adornments on its ends hang from each side of the central design and refer to sacred ceremonial dilly bags. Wunkura (bandicoot), another important totem animal associated with this ceremonial cycle, is represented by the vertical dash’s or Wunkura stratchings in each corner.
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