The Wandjina spirits are highly respected by the people of Mowanjum. The Wandjinas brought the law, culture and language. The people of Mowanjum believe that the first Wanjina was called Idjair, the father who lives in the Milky Way. The Wandjina’s facial characteristics can represent many climatic features: eyes represent thunderstorms or cyclones and the bigger and darker the eyes, the more powerful the Wandjina; the haloes and lines represent different cloud formations and lightning; the line between the eyes resembles a nose, but it is actually a power line which is used to transfer energy. Small brush marks on the body usually represents raindrops. When depicted with only head and shoulders the Wandjina is said to be floating in space or in the form of a cloud or storm. The rounded feature in the upper chest area can represent the heart of the Wandjina or a large pearl shell that is worn by tribal leaders.
Courtesy of Mowanjum Art & Culture Centre