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A superb example of figurative ochre design, which is extremely difficult to execute. The Kitja people of the East Kimberley embrace both the Catholic teachings and their Traditional Culture and celebrate life in a “Two Way” belief which runs parallel in perfect harmony. At Warmun Community, the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart along with the Kitja Aboriginal people established the Ngalangangpum School in 1979. Meaning “Mother and Child” the school was first a primitive bough shed, but became the centre of the community with the Sisters of this teaching order immediately gaining the support of the Elders, in particular Queenie McKenzie and Hector Jandany (International ochre artists both deceased) both of whom executed many designs in their artworks of their Catholic belief. One of the original sisters, Theresa Morellini, is still living at Warmun and has ensured the careful and accurate recording of the history and the people.
The iconography of the artwork is a representation of the events of Pentecost. “God the Father sends the Spirit on the Apostles who are gathered around Mary”.
Pentecost is the Festival of Christian celebration of the gift of the Holy Spirit. It is celebrated on the Sunday 50 days after Easter (the seventh Sunday after Easter). Pentecost is derived from a Jewish harvest festival called Shavuot. The Apostles of Jesus were celebrating this festival when the Holy Spirit descended on them. It is believed that Pentecost marks the birth of the Christian Church. It is also of significance that it is believed the Apostles were then miraculously enabled to go out into Jerusalem, prophesying and speaking in languages that all the visitors to Jerusalem could understand – again, demonstrating the bond between the Aboriginal people and their white teachers and advisors.