This design depicts the story of the artist’s ancestral dreaming, the Djomi fresh water spirit mermaid.
The Djomi figure is a mermaid like spirit with fish tail that lives in the fresh water stream that flows out to the sea cliff near Maningrida. Djomi is a known to be a very powerful fertility symbol.
‘If you go there you can get pregnant easily. Djomi has babies, and they can give others babies too. The Djomi spirit is so powerful, that women can end up with multiple babies at once, twins or sometimes even more. The Djomi spirits lay eggs near the sacred freshwater stream in Maningrida. Inside the eggs are human babies as well as young Djomi.
Men do not go near that swamp, because Djomi is so powerful that men might get pregnant there too. So men, they are too scared of that Djomi. When we visit the Djomi freshwater spring, we can hear young Djomi crying. They sound like normal babies crying, those Djomi spirits. They are looking for a mother.
This Djomi is my dreaming, I got permission from my djunguys to paint this Djomi design. For me I always ask my djunguy permission to paint, because that is our cultural way.
This design also depicts the fresh water lily leaves, and seaweed from the base of the sea floor.