Mabel Juli

DOB: C1933
Born: Five Mile
Skin Nyawurru
Language Gija and Kimberley Kriol
Community Warmun, Turkey Creek

About Artist:
Mabel is an elder and senior artist from the Warmun Community in the Kimberley region in Western Australia. She paints in traditional ochres.

One of the subjects of Mabel's paintings is Doomboony, a small nightjar owl that lives around Warmun. In Gija they call him Barnanggany. Nggorrian is an affectionate term people use when regarding someone or something as cute:

'This that Doomboony. He dat little one, we call im Barnanggany. Nggorrian. He there watchin, sitting down, looking out. He in Warrmarn. That's that waterhole up top.'

Courtesy of Warmun Art Centre : For Aboriginal people there is a common belief that people came from the land on which they live, and that they have occupied that land since the creation era known as the Dreaming. It is believed that during this time, spirit beings roamed across the land performing certain actions that modified or created natural features, made waterholes, springs and rivers, and filled the whole land with a spirituality that remains vitally potent to this day.

There is no, one Dreaming that is accepted by all Aboriginal people as the ‘creation story'. This concept is recognised by different names in different areas. The local Gija people refer to the concept as ‘Ngarranggarni'.

In the Ngarranggarni, Spirit Beings roamed across the land modifying or creating natural features: waterholes, springs, hills, rocks and rivers. These Beings, who are able to change between human forms, spirits, animals, plants and rocks, filled the land with a spirituality that remains vitally potent. Whilst the Ngarranggarni provides a framework for Gija people to explain and relate to times long ago or to the time of their grandparents, it also provides an important link to the present. Gija people do not think of the Ngarranggarni in the past tense, it is something that is, was, and will continue to be into the future.

This link is an ABC Radio Recording of Mabel Juli in conversation with Roseleen Park: