Wakewaken (Sugarbag Woman) 23/99
“The story of Wakewaken (Sugar-bag woman) came from a country near Mann River a place call Gamarrkawan. The tree in the painting is called mandjarduk (red apple).”
These Wakewaken originally lived under a paper bark tree in a creek of cold running water. Ngalyod (the Rainbow Serpent) is said to reside in this same place. One day the Wakewaken left their underwater home and moved around the country gathering bush fruit, which they placed in the burlbe (dilly bags) they carried. Wak, (black crow) saw this and became angry. Thinking they were stealing from his country he took a stone axe and cut them in half. They transformed into mankung (sugarbag, the honey of native bees) and left their imprint as a rock painting in the artist’s Mankung Djang (Sugarbag Dreaming) country.
In earlier days when Aboriginal people from this region wanted to ensure that sugar bag would be plentiful each year, they would swim in the creek and pull up the water weeds near the base of the paper bark tree where the Wakewaken resided.