Kumoken (Freshwater Crocodile)
Kumoken (Freshwater Crocodile)


Michael has painted kumoken, the fresh water crocodile. Kunwinjku speakers use two names for the freshwater crocodile – “kumoken” and “modjarrki”. Kumoken is the long nosed crocodile, different from the short nosed kinga (saltwater crocodile). They don’t bite people. We see them in many places, usually open areas rather than dense forest. They are seen in flowing water, and high in the stone country. We see them lying in the sun on logs, on the sand, on rocks or on the banks of creeks or rivers. They eat small prey such as rats, fish, prawns, frogs. In the past the old people used to catch and eat kumoken and cook them in a ground oven and also they would eat the eggs. Kumoken lays its eggs high on the bank in the sand, and buries them, in the same way that the sea turtle, which lays its eggs and buries them in the sand high on the beach.
Michael has painted the kumoken in the tradidional Kunwinjku method, which includes depicting the internal organs as well as the external features of the animal. The fine hatching is called rarrk and is painted using a manyilk made by whittling down sedge grass until only a few fibres remain. 

Kumuken ngarringeybun bokenh kunngey, birribuyika kabirri-ngeybun modjarrkki, kumoken – nakka kebyahwurd – minj kinga. Nakka kebdjumbung. Kumoken minj kanbaye – larrk. Kumoken karrinan kubolkwarlahken kubolkwern, kumoken karrinan kore kahbo-rlobme, dja kore kaddum kore kuwardehwarde. karrinan kakukdayo kore manwodj kukorlh kuwardde dja kore kukadjid, Kumuken kayo kore kukku kubowinjku, kore manlabbarl, mankabo. Kumuken kangun nawu mayh kilekilelh, mulbbu, djenj, wakih, kordbolbok. Kumuken namak mayh bu ngarringun. Korroko dabborrabbolk birribuni, birrikerribuni, wanjh birringuni, wirllarrk warridj. Kumuken ka-wirllarrk-ngukdeng kore kukadjid kaddum kukayalanj kadudjeng – yiman ngalbu mayh manbiri, ngalbu kurrulawaken kawirllarrkngukdeng kore karrkad wadjbud.

Size 102 x 38 cm | Medium Paper | Catalogue # 888-17 | Year 2017

1 in stock

Artist  Michael Naborlhborlh

Michael Naborlhborlh grew up in Gunbalanya and is a founding member of Injalak Arts. Michael was one of the original screenprinters at Injalak, working alongside Gabriel Maralngurra, Ted Naborlhborlh, Neville Namarnyilk, Kennedy Girrabul, Harold Nayinggul, Laurie Nadjamerrek and Ray Young. They set up the screenprinting facility with adult educator Wendy Kennedy in a shed across the road from the council office. When the Injalak building was constructed in 1989, they moved over. At this point he also became more heavily involved in painting and began leading tours of Injalak Hill. 
Michael has worked as a ranger for Warddeken at Manmoyi and Kabulwarnamyo. He worked in bushfire prevention and feral pig culling. He then worked with the outstation resource centre Demed, providing support to outstations with activities such as food deliveries, road building and house construction. From 2009 he worked with Earth Connect and Territory Alliance constructing houses in Gunbalanya.  

Michael paints in the classic kunwinjku style of single-line rarrk (hatching) that has been practised on the rock walls of west Arnhem Land for centuries. Michael has a well-honed sense of composition and form, and his meticulous rarrk imparts an almost shimmering quality to his paintings. Michael can be found painting under the verandah at Injalak most days or leading tours up Injalak hill during the dry season. 



further details

Size 102 x 38 cm
Medium  Paper
Catalogue # 888-17
Year 2017