Manimunak (magpie geese, Anseranas semipalmata) nest on the ground during Kudjewk, the monsoon season. They are distinctive looking birds with the males having a large bump on the top of their heads. Their colouring is black and white, hence being named after magpies. Flocks can be seen overhead flying in V-configurations and honking as they search for sites to nest. The eggs are sought after as food, as are the geese. Traditionally the geese were hunted with sticks. Hunters would approach the flock from different sides and then scare the birds. The stick would be thrown as the disturbed birds flew into the air.
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.
- Artist skin name: Nawakadj
- Clan: Barrbinj
- Born: 1975
- Language group: Bininj-Kunwok
- Community: Gunbalanya (Oenpelli)
- Year created: 2023
- Artwork certificate provided
Jonathan was born and raised in Gunbalanya. He is the son of Florie and Djidawaynga Garnarradj. He enjoys spending time at the art centre with other artists when he is not working. Jonathan does some painting in his spare time on canvas, Mako (Didjiridu) and Lorrkon (Hollow log). When he goes out bush hunting, he is also getting materials to make carvings.
Jonathan has worked at Gunbalanya Meatworks for a number of years. It was established to process the locally farmed cattle.He remembers when they hunted buffalo to sell in the shop, which no longer happens. He sometimes goes out bush to hunt them. When someone has hunted a buffalo there is a big feast, plenty for everyone to eat.