• Komrdaw (Long Neck Turtle)
  • Komrdaw (Long Neck Turtle)
  • Komrdaw (Long Neck Turtle)

J.Wurrkidj (dec)

Komrdaw (Long Neck Turtle)

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  • Fibre-tipped pen on paper
  • Dimensions: 76cm x 56cm
  • Cat No. 1464b-22

J. Wurrkidj (dec) was a Kuninjku artist from the Kurulk clan whose country lies around the outstation of Mumeka in central Arnhem Land. This image depicts important man-me (food) from freshwater environments on her country and she drew this drawing with her eldest daugter, Abigail Namundja.

Wayuk (waterlilly) roots are called burdbarrk and are eaten fresh from the water or cooked on an open fire. The freshwater turtle (kormdaw) are a favourite cuisine – they hibernate on the floodplains during the dry season.

J. Wurrkidj (dec) was a highly regarded textile artist who started working at Bábbarra Women’s Centre in 2007. Her print designs featured local bush foods and food-collecting devices such as kunmadj (dilly bag), mandjabu (fish trap) whilst also referencing the activities of ancestor beings and the ceremonial sites of her homeland, Mumeka. J.Wurrkidj also created artwork for Maningrida Arts and Culture alongside other members of her family who were also accomplished artists: her mother, H. Lanyinwanga (Dec), sister Deborah Wurrkidj and daughter Abigail Namundja, who is pictured holding her work here.

J. Wurrkidj was the daughter of Australia’s most highly acclaimed bark painter, John Mawurndjul, and renowned, in her own right for her bark paintings, hollow logs and carved sculptures. Her artwork has been exhibited throughout Australia and her textile works are in the collection of the Art Gallery of South Australia, CDU, Bendigo Art Gallery, National Museum of Australia and has been touring internationally with Jarracharra (dry season wind) since 2019. In her later years she focused her arts practice on mentoring her daughter Abigail Namundja who printed her lino designs in her capacity as an arts worker at Bábbarra Women’s Centre.

Bábbarra Women’s Centre works with women who from more than 12 language groups in the Maningrida region who come together to share knowledge and ideas. The group's main social enterprise, Bábbarra Designs, has been going strong since 1989, designing and hand-printed exquisite textiles that are sold around the world. Each length of fabric is unique and tells the ancestral stories of Arnhem Land country and cultures. "People tell us our designs are bold and elegant, but for us they are more than designs: these designs tell the stories of our lives. They bring a lot of joy to everyone – to us, our families and our customers alike. Working creatively with Bábbarra Designs is a way for us to achieve financial independence, for our community and the next generations."

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