58cm x 76cm Ochre on Arches Paper, 2006
Sugar Bag Dreaming
In the Dreamtime a man called Anwadi lived near the Mann River, about 150 miles from Oenpelli on the way to Maningrida in Central Arnhem Land. He became known as the 'sugar bag man' because of his ability to find swarms of small black bees circling around dead branches, indicating the presence of wild honey. Once having located such a tree he would cut down the dead branch with a stone axe, and scoop out the beeswax and sweet wild honey in the hive.
He decided to travel throughout western Arnhem Land teaching other people his skills, and eventually came to an area known as Marlgawo. lt was a land of rocky escarpments and plunging waterfalls, so he told his family they would all settle there. However two birds (wakwak) shouted out to Anwadi that the country belonged to them and they would not allow him to settle there.
When Anwadi refused to move on, the birds hurled stone axes at him and his family, cutting off their legs. Anwadi retaliated by killing the birds with stones, and they turned to rock.
The Sugar Bag people settled down happily, learning how to walk around without legs and still continue to find wild honey. Eventually they all died and turned into trees or rocks, where their spirits live on forever.