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Wak Wak

This painting depicts a sacred site at ‘Kurrurldul’, an outstation south of Maningrida.

The ‘rarrk’, or abstract crosshatching, on this work represents the design for the crow totem ancestor called ‘Djimarr’. Today this being exists in the form of a rock, which is permanently submerged at the bottom of Kurrurldul Creek. The ‘Djimarr’ rock in the stream at Kurrurldul is said to move around and call out in a soft hooting tone at night. Both the stone itself and the area around it are considered sacred.

The imagery represents the rock mentioned above at the bottom of Kurrurldul creek, which is the final transmutation of the dreaming ancestor ‘Djimarr’. Finally, the pattern used here is also the crow design used in the sacred ‘Mardayin’ ceremony, which is a large regional patri-moiety ceremony now rarely conducted in central and eastern Arnhem Land.

Name: Irenie Ngalinba

Language: Kuninjku


Irene Nagalinba in a Kuninjku painter born in 1978.  She is the daughter of Jimmy Njiminjuma (1945 -2004), an artist vital to the founding of the contemporary Kuninjku painting movement.


Ngalinba’s work was first exhibited in 2003.  Her first solo exhibition was at William Mora Gallery in 2006. In 2007, she was selected for the Xstrata Coal Emerging Artist Award held at the Queensland Art Gallery.


Ngalinba has shown at numerous commercial galleries including Outstation in Darwin, Gabrielle Pizzi in Melbourne and Annandale in Sydney.  Her work is held in many collections nationally including that of Artbank, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory and Ballarat Fine Art Gallery.

© the artist / art centre