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JOELENE ROUGHSEY | 'Thuwathu and Marnbil, Djin-Djin and Dewallewal'| 2021 | Painting

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JOELENE ROUGHSEY, 'Thuwathu and Marnbil, Djin-Djin and Dewallewal', 2021, Acrylic on Belgian Linen, 198 x 198 cm

“This fellow made a humpy, this fellow, Thuwathu, the Rainbow Serpent. And his sister, his sister Bulthuku (Shore Bird), was there. She was there. He made a humpy, and was going around hunting, with the people. A big wind came, and overtook the people. All these people. This fellow Rainbow Serpent, his humpy was a huge humpy. His sister Bulthuku was sleeping nearby, with her child. A little child. Jindirrbu (Willy-Wagtail) was its name. The rain was coming, rain in the distance, at night. Sheet lightning appeared. There was rain in the distance. A big rain, off in the distance. At night it overtook the people. The child got cold. This person's, Bulthuku's.

'Hey, brother! Take my child. The rain has gotten here. It's started falling' 'Mmmmmm ... no. This is for my head, this place in the east.'

She went back west ... she went back west, the sister. The sister and the niece. She covered the child with a little paperbark, and made a fire. 'Hey, brother,' she went back east, 'Hey, brother, take my child. This rain has gotten big. It's started falling. It got big.' 'Mmmm ... this is for my, my shins, this place here in the east.'

She goes back; it's no good. She keeps covering the child over, in the west, with the paperbark. She keeps trying. It's no good.

'Hey, brother, my, my child has started dying, our little child, brother, she's started dying.' 'Mmmm, this is for my ribs, this place in the east, I won't give it to you.'

'You have a big humpy, brother.'

But he doesn't give her anything. She goes back west. She builds a fire.

'It's no good, my child has died.'

The little child, Willy-Wagtail. And she goes back to the east, in a rage, and makes a bark torch. She burns it in the west. She will sit there now and burn her brother's humpy.

She burns it, now. Right around, she burns it right around. He's fast asleep, just snoring away. The flames are huge. He's burned badly, Rainbow Serpent, inside the humpy. He writhes in agony. He'll writhe in his death throes, there. He'll writhe in agony there, he'll cry out as he writhes in his death throes. He's dead now. He sings as he comes out every which way. He speaks, and sings, in the places he goes, there to the north, he sings and leaves his own sister behind.”

"The first men and woman to come to Mornington Island were Marnbil, Djin-Djin and Dewallewal. Djin-Djin was married to Marnbil and Dewallewal is Din-Djin's uncle. These three made the land, creating all the rivers, hills, animals, trees, wells, making fish traps. They gave each animal a sacred place, and name, and made ceremonies for them, so that they could be protected.

Now Dewallewal did not have a wife of his own so he decided to steal Djin-Djin, thinking that Marnbil wouldn't know. Marnbil knew that Dewallewal had broken the law and he knew that he had stolen Djin-Djin, so he had to kill him. That was the law.

Marnbil wounded Dewallewal with a spear. Dewallewal shot straight up into the sky like a whirly wind, still with the spear stuck in his back and cursed man to die from all things. Before that, man had been immortal, but Dewallewal's curse meant that they would die."

Today on my Great Grandfather’s Country, Barakiah, top end of Mornington Island there are three rocks, symbolic of Marnbil, Dewallewal and Djin Djin. These rocks are surrounded by sand and is a very sacred site to our people."

Courtesy of Mornington Island Art Centre

Catalogue number: 209-21