Dawidi became the leader of ceremonies associated with the ancestral Wägilak Sisters on the death of his father, Yilkari Kitani (1891–1956). As Dawidi was still an inexperienced painter he was tutored by a senior artist, Dhawadanygulili (1900–1976). When Dawidi died, his brother Paddy Dhäthaŋu inherited his role.
The Wägilak story concerns the rules of marriage, the creation of the first monsoon and the concept of transformation. In the narrative, Wititj the Rainbow Serpent swallows the Wägilak Sisters but regurgitates them when he realises they belong to his moiety, the Dhuwa. The sequence of swallowing and regurgitation is a metaphor for transformation, as in initiation where boys enter the ceremony and emerge as men.
Paintings in the exhibition
Click on the images below to see a larger version and more information, including dimensions. Please note these images are not to scale.
Dawidi, The Wägilak Story
Dawidi, Wurrdjarra ga Marrma’ Wititj ga Marrma’ Djarrka (Sand Palm and Fronds with Two Snakes and Two Goannas)
Dawidi, Wolma, the First Thunder Cloud and the Rain Flooding the Country
Dawidi, Dilly Bag Fish Trap
Dawidi, Wägilak Raŋga (Elder Sister)
Paddy Dhäthaŋu, Wititj ga Gandawul’ ga Wurrdjarra (Wititj with Rock Wallaby and Sand Palm in Seed)
Binyinyuwuy, Mirarrmina Sacred Well of the Liyagalawumirr
All these bark paintings are part of the National Museum of Australia’s collection. © the artist or the artist’s estate, licensed by Aboriginal Artists Agency 2013, unless otherwise specified. These images must not be reproduced in any form without permission.