'This one is the devil devil, look out for him; he is a fighting man with blades on his knees and legs. He has blades on his arms they can rip you wide open. He is a hunting devil devil with 4 dilly bags for his tools and magic powder. He can hear and see everything in the bush. The bones are for the people that have passed away that may be in the caves or coffin logs. We have special songs during corroborrees when someone passed away, we all gather together to sing and dance. The devil devil is an important part of this ceremony and this painting represents his role in this part of our culture.' – Wally Wilfred
About Wally Wilfred
Wally Wilfred is a Wägilak man. His skin name is Wamut and his country is Ŋilipidji, near Blue Mud Bay. He was born at Mountain Valley, and he walked, ḻukudhu (on foot), with his family from there to Ngukurr and Numbulwar.
Since 2003, Wally Wilfred has been associated with Ngukurr Art Centre. Developing a unique style, Wally brings together traditional techniques with bold and contemporary use of colour. Continuing in the footsteps of his grandfather Sambo Barra Barra, Wally’s work explores traditional and present day culture with history and storytelling.
Wally paints on paper, ŋaḏan (bark) and dharpa (wood). He makes cultural artefacts from dubal (Leichhardt tree) and bulgut (kurrajong).
Wally Wilfred has exhibited both nationally and internationally. He has artworks in many permanent collections including the Art Gallery of NSW, the Art Gallery of South Australia, and the University of Wollongong art collection.
Wally is also a keen sculptor, working with wood and found objects. Wally’s sculptures continue in the same path as his paintings. They tell stories, sometimes about culture, sometimes about the effect the munanga (white fella) have had on his people and country since they first arrived with their poisons; sugar, tobacco and beer.
About Ngukurr Arts
Ngukurr Art Centre sits a stone’s throw from the banks of the Roper River in Ngukurr, South East Arnhem Land. The Art Centre, like the town of Ngukurr, is unique – bringing together people of many different clans and language groups including Ngalakgan, Alawa, Mangarrayi, Ngandi, Marra, Warndarrang, Nunggubuyu, Ritharrngu-Wägilak and Rembarrnga. Together these clans are known as Yugul Mangi.
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