Namarnkol, the barramundi, is a very important fish for us Bininj (Aboriginal people). Namarnkol are found in the ocean, in floodwaters, and in freshwater billabongs, rivers and creeks. In the old days, people used to spear them with djalakirradj (three-pronged fish spears) and walabi (traditional triangular nets). Nowadays, we catch them with fishing lines and modern nets.
Namarnkol are most easily caught from the end of the monsoon (March -April) until the humid “build up” season (October-November). There are sites in lots of clan countries where the ancestral Barramundi placed itself as a Dreaming. Men and women will say “My Dreaming is Barramundi, it placed itself in my country”.
Kunwinjku art is part of the oldest continuous art tradition in the world. Ancestors of today’s artists have been painting the rock walls of West Arnhem Land for tens of thousands of years. The traditional palette of white, red, yellow and black comes from the ochre that naturally occurs in the region, although contemporary artists sometimes choose to paint in acrylics as well. Kunwinjku artists famously paint using either the traditional rarrk hatching technique, or the more contemporary and complex cross hatching technique which has been adapted from ceremonial painting. These lines are carefully painted using a manyilk, which is a piece of sedge grass shaved down until only a few fibres remain.
Ezariah Kelly Biography
- Artist skin name: Nabangardi
- Clan: Mirradja
- Born: 1982
- Language group: Bininj-Kunwok/Rembarrnga
- Community: Gunbalanya (Oenpelli) NT
Ezariah Kelly is one of Gunbalanya’s most impressive emerging artists. He is a regular member of Injalak Arts and sometimes chooses to sell his artwork through Songlines. His work has featured in group exhibitions in Darwin, Melbourne and Perth. His style characterised by bold lines, a strong sense of design and high visual impact. He is a keen hunter and fisherman with an eye for environmental phenomena, and his work often features inventive themes from the natural world and vignettes of everyday traditional life. Recently he has begun working exclusively in natural ochres, and his compositions and colours have taken on a more delicate aesthetic with fine figures and lighter colours.