Charlie Djurritjini Date of Birth: 14 / 6 / 1952 Region: Ramingining Arnhem Land, NT Outstation Muty'ka, Balingura Language: Ganalbingu Group: Yolngu Local Group: Gurrumba Gurrumba Social Affiliations: Yirritja moiety, Bulany subsection
Artist's totems are Barnda (long-necked tortoise), Djamandarr (wild taro), Njalknjalk (freshwater herring) from country near Gatji. geese and nests, Karr - spider, Arafura Wetlands story, water pythons, bamboo shoots, bustard or plains turkey, long neck tortoise, fresh water catfish, Lungkurr'ma spirit with fire, flying fox, Mewal dhuwa honey spirit, black headed python
Artist's country is Mutuyka-Balingura. Moved to Ramingining in 1984. Djurritjini was born near a place called Muty'ka' (a Dabi and Ganalbingu place) in the bush in the Arafura Swamp: "I can still paint from Balinggura, that Bari (crocodile) one. I have the same mother and father as my elder brother George Milpurrurru. My other brothers and sisters, Jimmy Djelminy and Dorothy Djukulul are from a different mother. Turkey Djipurru is my father's brother; my second father. Clara Wubugwubuk, his daughter, is like my sister.
My two ' full ' sisters (from the same mother and father) are Djunginy and Djuttarra. When I was a little boy I went to Milingimbi, to the mission school. That Balanda Allan Fidock taught me with the help of Charlie Mayntjarri and Baluka. I went to school with Bobby Bununggurr and lived in a single men's camp with him and other people from Milingimbi. I went back to Nangalala for my dapi (initiation). This was about the time that they made the first corrugated iron shed there, the store. Malcolm Douglas and David worked there then. (1965). Me and Jimmy Djamunba and Peter Girrirrkirrirr were cut (initiated) together. After, when I went back to Milingimbi my mother died and was buried at Nangalala . When I was about 14 and had left school I worked as a labourer making a road and clearing the airstrip. We were paid a little money; 50cents or $1-2 a week. Then I went to Nangalala. About then, before I was married, I went to Maningrida. This was when I went to my first Gunapipi ceremony. There wasn't a road then - we went by M.A.F. plane from Nangalala airstrip me, Richard Bandalil, and Clancy (deceased). David Bond was at Maningrida then land still is now] . I worked with a Balanda mechanic called Roger at the Council workshop. Then after that with an electrician called Rod Small for the housing section. Ramingining wasn't built then. Back at Nangalala I worked with a Mr. Joyner. I met Alice (Lolup) my wife at Nangalala. I worked with Mr. Shepherd as a mechanic's assistant. At Ramingining I worked with Ray Fry and lived at the 'Tank '. One time when I was living at Beswick (his wife comes from there) I worked with Arthur, an Englishman, the mechanic. My father and my elder brother taught me to paint. I'd watch George, then my father.
I like painting - paint for one year then rest, maybe next year paint. To paint, I think (for) myself. My father told me already see, - like my place (land) - so I paint my own things. I learn my culture and about my land by painting. I watch my elder brother, George Milpurrurru, to learn, to learn something about ceremony. My father told me everything before he died. These paintings are for Balanda and Yolngu. These paintings are to show Balanda [white-people] what my culture is. To show where my country, and Dreaming is from and where my culture comes from. I only paint from [about] one place, Muty'ka' - that's my country. These pictures come from my head - I think about my culture."