Mul Gunga Mat
Margaret Rarru and Helen Ganalmirriwuy are known for their Bathi Mul (black dilly bags). The singular use of black pandanus is reserved for Rarru and Ganalmirriwuy. Over time, as their sisters, daughters and nieces develop their skills and express their commitment to their craft Rarru and Ganalmirriwuy will pass on the use of this colour.
This specific piece is a variation of the artists iconic Bathi Mul. Ganalmirriwuy has used a coil technique to create this oblong form. The artist has intentionally chosen to combine Gunga (pandanus) that has taken on variations of the black pigment.
Fibre – Gunga (pandanus spiralis) and Bulgurr (kurrajong)
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. Harvested from Yurrwi and associate Homelands.
Bulgurr – is a plant with multiple uses in Yolngu culture. To make string the tree is cut down using an axe or machete. The outer bark of then beaten with the blunt end of the axe until it can be peeled away from the inner core. The fibre that sits beneath the outer bark is then peeled away, it is this fibre that is dried and spun into string on the inner thigh of the artists leg. Creating a tight twin and consistent gage is a skill developed over time with much practice. Harvested from Yurrwi and associated Homelands.
Colours derived from native plants
Mul (Black) – derived from a process involving fibres from an shrub that grows in the dry eucalyptus forests (Rarru and Ganalmirriwuy request that the name of this plant is not shared). Harvested from Yurrwi and associated Homelands.
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