Kedjebe (File snake)
Kedjebe (File snake)


Kedjebe (file snakes, Acrochordus arafurae) are found in freshwater billabongs, rivers and creeks where there are water lilies and mud. They have very loose, rough skin. Here in Gunbalanya, when the water in the billabong starts to drop in the dry season, families would wade out into the water and catch them for food. Since they are immobilised out of water and are not venomous, people can just pick them up and throw them on the bank. The best way to catch the kedjebe is by standing in the water of a billabong or river and feeling around the mud with your feet, and once you’ve found one reach down and pick it up. Most bininj (Aboriginal people) find the best way to kill them is to take the head in their mouth, bite and yank down hard breaking their necks. Nowadays there are too many crocodiles in the Gunbalanya billabong, but there are plenty of smaller water bodies where people still catch file snakes.

Kedjebe kayo kore kubowinjku kukku kore manlabbarl mankabo manwanjdjad kore mandem manbardmo dja kunkih kayo. Konda kore ngarrihni Kunbarllanjnja (Gunbalanya) kahboyo korroko bu boyahwurdmeni bukmeni wanjh kohbakohbanj daluhdaluk dja binihbininj dja wurdwurd birrikolungi birridjuhmi birrimangi ngalbu kedjebe. Dja bolkkime larrk minj nangale kadjuhme Kinga nawern kahyo kore manlabbarlkimuk kahboyo wardi kanbaye kanbun.Dja bu korroko nawu dabborrabbolk birriburrbuni bu birridjareni birrimangi kedjebe wanjh birrirey kore kahwardeyo kahwardedjuhmiyindi kangeyo Namunurr kumekke birrirey birribirrkani birrimangi ngalbu kedjebe.

Size 41 x 31 cm | Medium Paper | Catalogue # 3140-14 | Year 2014

1 in stock

Artist  Joe Guymala

Joe Guymala lives and works in Gunbalanya. He frequently spends time in Manmoyi, his outstation in Western Arnhemland and is the grandson of Namerredje (John) Guymala. He has toured nationally as a musican with Nabarlek Band and Mimih Band and helped to write many songs with his knowledge of traditional stories and country. Guymala’s work is often playful and documents his contemporary day to day life out bush, he also acknowledges his forefathers paintings in the rock shelters of Arnhemland as a great source of inspiration. Joe works exclusively in natural ochre’s using ‘Manyilk’ a thin grass brush to apply line after line, layer after layer to create his very powerful and unique compositions.

In January 2020, Joe Guymala went on a residency at the Kluge Ruhe Collection in Virginia and opened two exhibitions in the town.


further details

Size 41 x 31 cm
Medium  Paper
Catalogue # 3140-14
Year 2014