Mardayin by Kay Lindjuwanga

Kay Lindjuwanga 'Mardayin Ceremony' 171 x 43cm.jpg
Kay Lindjuwanga 'Mardayin Ceremony' 171 x 43cm.jpg

Mardayin by Kay Lindjuwanga


Kay Lindjuwanga  c.1957

Ochre on stringybark (Eucalyptus tetradonta)

167 x 44cm

©Kay Lindjuwanga/Maningrida Arts & Culture

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This work by Kay Lindjuwanga concerns a major patrimoiety ceremony of a secret and sacred nature called 'Mardayin'. Much of the meaning of the iconography in the painting is not in the domain of public knowledge ad so it cannot be explained in detail here.

This painting also refers to an important site, Dilebang, where the ancestor Buluwana and her family died.  Today an arrangement of rocks standing in the ground remains as Buluwana's present day form at Dilebang.  Only her head protrudes as a prismic standing stone, the rest of her body is under the ground.  Other human remains lying on rock ledges are said to be the remains of other early ancestors.  The white circles represent the water springs at Dilebang.

Text courtesy of and ©Maningrida Arts & Culture

Kay Lindjuwanga is one of Maningrida Arts and Culture's leading female artists. Similarly to her husband, acclaimed and renowned bark painter John Mawurndjul, Kay's work is distinctive fine 'rarrk' (crossing hatching) in natural ochre  on stringy bark. Her subject matter is Mimih spirit beings and themes that relate to her and her husband's homeland.

This particular painting, 'Mardayin' refers to the ceremony of the same name and, as mentioned, the sacred site, Dilebang. The white circles represent the water springs at Dilebang.  A similar work by John Mawurndjul of the same subject matter adorns the ceiling of the Musée du quai Branly, Paris, France. John Mawurndjul is culturally responsible for the 'Mardayin' ceremony his name 'Mawaurdjul' finds it's origin within 'Mardayin'. 

Kay Lindjuwanga was awarded the coveted Telstra Bark Painting Award at the National & Torres Strait Islander Art Awards in 2004.  


National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, ACT
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, VIC
Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory,Darwin, NT
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, SA
Museum of Victoria, Melbourne, VIC                                                                                                                                                Macquarie Bank Art Collection
Walonia Aboriginal Art, Netherlands