Guwak, Galuma Maymuru
  • Artist
    Galuma Maymuru
  • Born
  • Title
  • Date of Production
  • Medium
    ochre, pva fixative, on bark (Eucalyptus tetradonta)
  • Dimensions
    114 x 48 cm
  • Credit Details
    Purchased with funds from the Colin Hicks Caldwell Bequest, 2004

Galuma Maymuru


One of the first women to paint the sacred miny'tji or clan designs, Galuma Maymuru was taught to paint by her father Narritjin, a well known Yolgnu artist from the 1960s-70s. A member of the Manggalili clan, whose homeland is located at Djarrakpi on the tip of Cape Shield in North east Arnhem Land, Galuma has depicted Guwak which is associated with the ownership of her clan country and death and mortuary rituals.

When the Guwak people who had been sent by the Yirritja ancestral being Barama found Djarrakpi they alighted on the sacred Maruwili or bush cashew tree. In this painting the Guwak are represented by the Koel Cuckoo entwined in possum fur string that was spun by Marrngu, the ringtail possum. It is this string that provides a conduit for the Mangalili souls to the Milky Way. The wavy bands of crosshatching refer to many things including the sand country created by the ancestral woman Nyapalingu who is represented by the X shapes in the painting.