Translation: Water Grass

Photograph by Russell James. Collaborative art by Clifton Bieundurry (AUS).

4’5” x 6’4” Archival inkjet on canvas with acrylic and ochre applications.

The painting depicts the water grass that grows in natural lakes of the Great Sandy Desert. This grass would be used by Walmajarri men to catch water birds by placing the grass on their head then slowly the hunter would approach the water bird and catch them. The grass, when gathered in abundance, would make a good raft or floating device when crossing deep creeks. It is also known as the beard of the great spiritual serpent that created the Earth and who now resides in sacred waterholes. Traditionally, the Walmajarri people announce their presence to the Water Spirit by throwing pebbles into the water and stating aloud their kin group and tribe before drinking or entering the water.