Object type: Bark painting
Dimensions 92 cm X 28 cm
Material: bark and natural pigments
Condition: Some warping and a crack as shown in images
Collection: Sandra Le Brun Holmes
Story: Ngarrbek, the Echidna, is an important species that features in the Yabbadurruwa ceremony. A ceremony performed by Kuninjku people. Yirawala has painted the echidna with sacred decoration to emphasise its ceremonial role.
Kuninjku perform two major regional ceremonies, the Kunabibbi and Yabbadurruwa.. The two ceremonies are a pair whereby different social groups have reciprocal roles to play. The ceremonies articulate themes of Ancestral creation. They maintain the cycle of the seasons, and, in particular, the general fertility brought to the world by the coming of the wet season.
Ngarrbek is a Yirridjdja being and Yirawala, who was Duwa, painted this figure as a ritual manager of the Yabbadurruwa.
There is an important Kuninjku creation story of the battle between Ngarrbek and Ngalmangiyi. Ngarrbek had a young baby of the Kodjok subsection that was eaten by Ngalmangiyi and this precipitated their battle. Ngalmangiyi had many spears and Ngarrbek possessed a grindstone. During their fight Ngalmangiyi threw many spears into the body of Ngarrbek that later transformed into its spines.
Yirawala will always be a much sort after artist and his works are increasingly difficult to find.