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Gutjawutja (Yolngu name)
Miliusa brahei (Latin name)
'raspberry-jam leaf'(common name)
This plant belongs to the Dhuwa moiety
Cultural information about this plant:
This is another of the grape-like plants like wundan and lingarr (wild grape). It is another one of the fruits that the ngänuk (spirits) gather in the forest and put in their gay'wu (a closely woven broadly triangular string bag) or their bol'pu (a cylindrical woven pandanus basket). The spirit wears such a bag with the string handle across its forehead. This is mirrored in the choreography of the dance, with the spirits putting the plucked fruit over their shoulder into the mouth of the bag. We Yolngu women always carried our bags like this when harvesting or travelling, as it allowed us to keep both our hands free to hold our digging stick or a child. Our deep name as Yolngu women is Gong-Wapitja (the hand that holds the staff).
(Merrkiyawuy Ganambarr-Stubbs, 2017)
Botanical information about this plant:
- a deciduous tree to 15 metres tall
- glossy alternate elliptic leaves to 12 centimetres in length and 6 centimetres in width; crushed fresh leaves have a slight
- green flowers with three petals
- black shiny fruit, dark purple to black, fleshy oblong to 2 centimetres in length, with two seeds; looks like food, but not
eaten by most Aboriginal groups
- grows in monsoon forests and vine thickets in coastal areas on drier sites in inland areas; found in coastal areas of northern Australia.
A botanical painting in natural pigments and ochres on eucalyptus stringy bark, depicting the native plant species 'Gutjawutja'. The painting features two main stems of a plant with branches and leaves attached. The plant is coloured green infilled with white lines, and the background features various shades of brown and white crosshatching. On the reverse of the bark, the number '4419H' is handwritten in black ink, and there is a 'BUKU-LARRNGAY MULKA' adhesive label attached, including the artist's name and other details.
The collection consists of nine larrakitj, or painted hollow logs, and 113 bark paintings painted between 2011 and 2014 by Mulkun Wirrpanda, a senior female Yolngu artist at Yirrkala in north east Arnhem Land. These works are a product of Wirrpanda's interest in documenting the ecology of her country following her participation in a joint project with non-Indigeous artists, printmakers and academics, charting the country and yam supply at Blue Mud Bay.
The works in this collection provide a unique visual record of Yolngu knowledge of plants and food-bearing and medicinal species. Wirrpanda depicts aspects of the plants' life cycle across numerous works, including the gestational period through to fruiting and the interconnections between the food source and the extensive freshwater flood plains and rivers, beaches, sandhills, salt flats and estuaries in her Yolngu country.
W 485mm x H 950mm x D 35mm