Art traditions from an ancient and living landscape
Kabbindi's indigenous family refer to themselves as Nawarddekken – the people of the vast western Arnhem Land sandstone plateau or Kunwarddewardde. The biggest rivers of the northern Territory's Top End all rise in the Kunwarddewardde.
The plateau is a cultural and biological treasure house, where deep gorges, sandstone headlands and tall tropical savannah forest are home to a great diversity of plants and animals – many found nowhere else. The plateau is also the world's most extensive and ancient art gallery with tens of thousands of images left in caves and rock shelters over a period of more than 50,000 years of indigenous occupation.
This ancient artistic tradition and the management of the lands carry into the present with indigenous rangers and landowners continuing to care for this special living landscape.
Stone Country Creations Story
Kabbindi's family home is the small community of Kabulwarnamyo on the Mok Clan country of Mankung Djang. Mankung Djang means "sugarbag dreaming", reflecting the clan's spiritual and totemic connection to the small stingless bees called Mankung. Depending on the season 20 to 50 people live at Kabularnamyo.
Kabulwarnamyo is at the heart of the western Arnhem Land rock art tradition and that great tradition flows through into Kabbindi's artworks today. Kabbindi follows in the footsteps of her grandfather (mammam) Lofty Bardayal Nadjamerrek AO, a ritual and community leader amongst his people and whose contributions to Australian art were honoured with the national award of "Officer in the Order of Australia" in 2008, only the second indigenous person in the northern territory to receive such an honour.
The images Kabbindi paints include the Spirits and Animals of the West Arnhem region and the ceremonies that underpin the cultural life in the Stone Country.
Kabbindi can provide a commentary on each painting, explaining the cultural, artistic and biological meaning encoded in her vibrant work.
KEEPING A PROMISE
This Website honours Kabbindi's "mammam" [Bardayal Nadjamerrek –wamud naMok].
The idea of the website comes from the unique gift left by a magnificent grandfather to his beloved granddaughter: the gift of cultural knowledge and artistic talent. And so Kabbindi has been given the responsibility and the privilege of passing on the ancient stories, the art tradition, the love and care for the environment and the strong bonds of a proud people.
In the Kunwinjku language of Arnhem Land, 'kundenge bok' means 'footsteps', and the idea of following in her grandfather's footsteps is very dear to Kabbindi's heart.
Here is part of Lorraine's tribute for her grandfather at his passing, the famous indigenous artist, Wamud Namok: Lofty
I am going to follow in your footsteps by keeping on with my painting, in the way that you have taught me. This gives me comfort because you and our past will be reflected in my paintings. You were the only person who can paint this way. Through our paintings, I feel a special connection with you.
Bardayal 'Lofty' Nadjamerrek
Bardayal Nadjamerrek "Wamud Namok" was a distinguished Aboriginal artist, leader, traditional knowledge holder and conservationist from Western Arnhem Land. He was the last great master painter of his generation to create artworks within the rock art galleries of the Arnhem Land plateau. He was a custodian of ancestral country and major cultural sites within his Mok clan estate until his death in October 2009.
In 1999, Wamud won the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award for his work on paper. In addition, the 8 metre commissioned mural depicting Ngalyod, the Rainbow Serpent, on permanent display at Darwin International Airport is based on his work.