Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that the following pages may contain images or names of people who have since passed away.

Emu Djang

Glen Namundja

Ochre on Arches Paper

61cm x 41cm


In the Beginning of Time, the Ancestral Beings often existed in the form of birds, fish, animals or reptiles. It was at this time that Kurdukadji, the Emu Ancestor, roamed across western Arnhem Land teaching Aboriginal people various ceremonies and instructing them in the use of emu feathers for head-dresses and arm bands and how to paint the Emu Design on their bodies. Kurdukadji once had large wings with which he could fly. One day, however, two hunters, not realizing that he was the powerful Emu Ancestor, tracked kurdukadji through the bushland with spear upraised to kill him. While fleeing the hunters, Emu crashed into a group of pine trees and broke his wings. However he still managed to run into a nearby water-hole, where he changed into Ngalyod the Rainbow Serpent. When the hunters came to this pool,Kurdukadji emerged and swollowed them. He then changed back into an emu only now he had shortened wings. As a result of this incident, emus can no longer fly but can only run through the bush flapping their wings. After heavy storms Emu Ancestor can be seen as a rainbow in the sky, recalling the time he changed into Ngalyod.v

Ref: IAGN60-20



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Injalak Arts

Injalak Arts is a non-profit Aboriginal-owned charitable organisation. The art centre in Gunbalanya was officially opened in late November 1989. Indigenous community art centres play an important role in the artistic and cultural life of traditional Aboriginal artists living in remote communities. Injalak Arts is an outstanding example of a community organisation that is 100% Aboriginal owned and delivers positive social, economic and cultural outcomes for its members.

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