Wardal and Garnkeny
Wardal and Garnkeny

Mabel Juli

c1933 - Wardal and Garnkeny 2011
  • ochre on linen
180 cm x 150 cm

This painting depicts Yariny country in Darrajayin (Springvale Station) south of Warmun. This is Juli's traditional country.

In the Ngarrangkarni (Dreaming), Garnkeny, the moon, was a man. One day Garnkeny came back from hunting kangaroo and saw a beautiful girl with long black hair sitting with her mother. He fell in love with her instantly. This girl was Daawul, the black-headed snake.

However, she was Garnkeny's classificatory mother-in-law and so it was taboo for him to marry her. The old people asked him, 'Who do you want for your wife?' Garnkeny told them 'that one, that one' pointing to Daawul, but they said, 'No, she's your mother-in-law, you must marry one of these promised girls, these Nyawana Daawul's daughters.'

Garnkeny strode off angrily and walked some distance before he sat down and turned into a hill.

He cursed the people, telling them that they were going to die, but that he would always live. As the moon, he comes back to life every month and the wardal (stars) are Daawul's daughters of Nyawana skin.

Source: Warmun Art Centre

© Mabel Juli/Copyright Agency, 2018

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The Wesfarmers Collection of Australian Art acknowledges all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Traditional Custodians of Country and recognises their continuing connection to land, sea, culture and community. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

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