This bark painting was made Ramingining, a small remote community of around about 700 people, located in Central Arnhem Land located some 400 kms east of Darwin and nearly 30 kms from the Arafura Sea. The tract of land upon which Ramingining township is built, is owned by the Djadawitjibi people of the Djinang group. Their principal creative being is Garrtjambal, the Red Kangaroo. Travelling from the south-east in the Roper River region across the mainland and over to Milingimbi, Garrtjambal links all the land-owning groups in the region.
In another time creative spirits wandered the earth in many forms including human, animal and climatic. As they travelled they created the features of the land, rivers, seas, hills, waterholes and rock formations. They created and controlled the movement of the sun and moon, stars, rain clouds and the tides. They also established sacred laws and customs.
It is through story telling and ritual, song and dance, carved and decorated images, ground paintings and bark paintings that religious power or influence is brought to bear on day to day life. Bark painting has allowed artists to tell their stories in a portable medium which is also an artwork.
The art from Ramingining essentially derives from the travels and journeys of the creative spirits. Ever dynamic, art from this area is constantly changing and evolving to reveal new forms and new perspectives on the ancient stories. Indeed ancient art forms are also used to tell stories from more recent times. The Aboriginal Memorial, created in 1988 by 43 artists from Ramingining, is a testament to all Aboriginal people who died defending their lands against incursion by the British and other invaders. Described by James Mollison, then Director of the National Gallery of Australia where it is on permanent display, “The Aboriginal Memorial is one of the most important art works ever produced in this country”.