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Mardayin Design

This work concerns a major patrimoiety ceremony of a secret and sacred nature called ‘Mardayin’. Much of the meaning of the iconography in the painting is not in the domain of public knowledge. As such, it cannot be explained in detail here.

The painting refers to a site, Kakodbebuldi, which is an outstation in the Dangkorlo clan estate in the Mann River region. Kakodbebuldi is a Mardayin ceremony performance site and is located on a large billabong covered in waterlilies. This place is about 50km south of Maningrida in Central North Arnhem Land.

Name: Semeria Wurrkidj

Language: Kuninjku

Community: Maningrida


Semeria is a painter and sculptor. She specialising in bark painting, dolobbo bim,  and carvings depicting spirit beings, such as yawkyawk and mimih that reside on her clan estate, Kurulk. She is the daughter of acclaimed artists John Mawurndjul and Kay Lindjuwanga. She is part of the next generation of Kuninjku artists trained and working in the designs of her father whose career has been celebrated for decades. She depicts designs for which Mawurndjul has given permission to represent, including Wak (Black Crow) and mankabo, the creek that runs from Milmingkan to Kurrurldul outstations.

Like other Kuninjku artists, Wurrkidj maintains the cultural knowledge and practices of working with natural materials: ochres which are mixed with water and PVA fixative and applied with manyilk (sedge grass) to bark (stingybark) in the Wet season and lorrkkon (hollow log burial poles) and spirit carvings in the Dry season. She primarily engages the red, yellow, black and white palette of her father, but achieves a softer effect. 

© the artist / art centre