Mábbularr (calm, still water)

Mabbúlarr is the Ndjébbana word describing calm and stillness – both regarding people and the ocean.

This design tells the story of underwater life in the shallows. The turtle we call marláddja (green turtle, Chelonia mydas) and the stingray we call marnandjúbba (Cowtail Stingray, Pastinachus sephen).

‘When strong wind blows the sea is rough, when there’s no wind the sea is calm. We call that mábbularr. You can see through the water and look at the turtle and stingray eating karlómerr (sea grass) and dancing underwater to find their mate. When we go on the boat hunting, we go at times of mábbularr.

In the old days men used to hunt with a canoe and with traditional made harpoon.  Guided by our ancestors’ spirits they would paddle all day to find sea turtle and dugongs in the right places. The men had to be smart for the tide and know the weather to balance their canoes. They would go at times of mábbularr (calm), early morning in daytime or at night-time when there is no moon and the water glows. We call the night-time glimmer of phosphorescence mílarrng-milarrng. Today people still go hunting, it brings a lot of families together and they share eating down the beach.

We have songline for sea turtle, also men paint turtle on their back and dance turtle in the Míddjarn the same way turtle dance underwater. It is very important we look after our country and songline passed on from many generations’. Josephine James 2021

This artwork has been sold.