Important Aboriginal + Oceanic Art
6 October 2010

Samuel Namunjdja

born 1965

natural earth pigments and synthetic binder on eucalyptus bark

178.0 x 66.0 cm (irregular)

inscribed verso: artist's name, title, size, Maningrida Arts and Culture cat. MAC 1973-06


Maningrida Arts and Culture, Northern Territory
John Gordon Gallery, Coffs Harbour
Private collection, New South Wales


Australian Aboriginal Art 2006—2007, John Gordon Gallery, Coffs Harbour, cat. 9, p. 14 (illus)

Catalogue text

Samuel Namundja belongs to a dynasty of painters from western Arnhem Land. The brother of Ivan Namirrkki, Namundja was taught to paint by his father, Peter Marralwanga. His work is held in the collections of the National Gallery in Canberra as well as all state galleries and in 2006 Namundja was awarded the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award for bark painting.

Gungura, the subject of this work, has several meanings. It is the spiraling wind associated with several sites of the Kardbam clan and can also be interpreted as representing mini–cyclones which are common during Arnhem Land's wet season. It also relates to specific site called Bilwoninj. In this work, two of the most important Kuninjku creation beings, a father and son know as Nakorrkko, have hunted and eaten a goanna. They left some of the goanna fat behind which turned into the rock that still stands at this site.