Wak (Black Crow Dreaming)

The ‘rarrk’, or abstract crosshatching, on this work represents the design for the crow totem ancestor called ‘Djimarr’. Today this being exists in the form of a rock, which is permanently submerged at the bottom of Kurrurldul Creek. The ‘Djimarr’ rock in the stream at Kurrurldul is said to move around and call out in a soft hooting tone at night. Both the stone itself and the area around it are considered sacred.

The imagery represents the rock mentioned above at the bottom of Kurrurldul creek, which is the final transmutation of the dreaming ancestor ‘Djimarr’. Finally, the pattern used here is also the crow design used in the sacred ‘Mardayin’ ceremony, which is a large regional patri-moiety ceremony now rarely conducted in central and eastern Arnhem Land.

Deborah Kamanj pictured at her home studio in Kakodbebuldi where she has been creating bush colour to dye kundayarr Pandanus spiralis for her famed baskets. In a sustainable practice, Deb re uses the dye water to create soft hues on natural fabric. Here she shows us purple pink linen dyed from the seed of Wirndilk – a kangaroo paw like shrub.