Australia 1927 – 1999
Luku (foot)
vertical image of a foot on black ground. bands of cross-hatching on edges 1994
Bark Painting
natural pigments on eucalyptus bark
71.9 (h) x 30.0 (w) cm
Private collection, Canberra
© David Malangi. Licensed by VISCOPY, Australia
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In Malangi’s senior painting years, he began producing the luku or foot paintings.The foot is the foot of Gurrmirringu. The word luku, meaning foot, footprints, tracks, traces or guides refers to the Ancestors who led the way for the following generations. Luku also means the root of a treeplanted below the surface of the earth, connecting the living Yolngu to the subterranean Ancestral domain.

The act of painting Gurrmirringu’s foot was to chronicle a place, an event, and a presence. It was also an act of distilling the subject to its purest form. Malangi had dispensed with the whole story — the overall and perhaps more generic description — and, in doing so, was himself reaching closer and closer to the essence of a spiritual and Ancestral Source.

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