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Meuram Aib a Zogo Nipad


This story about the Meuram tribe, Aib the man and Bumeu, the water spring.

Category: Prints

5/50, 7/50

SKU: 10-55

This story about the Meuram tribe, Aib the man and Bumeu, the water spring. Most of the our traditional stories of Erub and other Torres Strait Island communities have spiritual and moral meaning, strong before colonisation, and can still guide us today. The story is about how Aib wanted something that didn’t belong to him. He wanted the special water belonging to another tribe. He wanted it so badly that he left what he was doing and snuck his way into Keirkari to steal it.  The Zogo water had come from afar. The Meuram had gone to great lengths to acquire this. He drank all the water until he was so full that he couldn’t move. When the warriors returned and speared him, the water gushed out of his belly, forming the spring of Bumeu.

The moral of this story:

“Nenerr Asimsim”our traditional laws teaches us “Teterr Mauki ” and “Tag Muiki ” – – our feet should not wander into other people’s area and our hands shouldn’t touch what is not ours. Aib crossed into Meuram tribe boundary and into their village and lost his life. The Meurams seeking vengeance likewise crossed into Aib’s tribal territory. Today Kerikari is a deserted waterless place. No ones lives there anymore nor at Bumeu. Bumeu well is now covered over with concrete. No one drinks from this spring anymore. The Bumeu Spring is at the foothills, yet its water is slightly salty or brackish. This story tells us it originally came from a sand cay. Shortened story from original as written by Kapua Gutchen snr.

Kapua George Gutchen Senior
About the artist

Kapua George Gutchen Snr

As a child raised by the old people of my clan, I spent lots of time listening to people in my community tell stories and legends. This included stories of their work effort, success and failures, celebrations and sadness, pre- and post-colonisation. I became more and more interested in our cultural and traditional knowledge. I understand and can speak the Erubian dialect of the Meriam language; I also understand my wife’s native language and Creole, making English my fourth spoken language. I learnt to draw while in the Australian Army Reserve (22 years) C-coy 51 Far North Queensland Regiment and Reconnaissance and Surveillance unit. On patrols, we would sketch people, campsites, community infrastructure, shipping, and boat movements. However, after some time, I realised that I could also draw things I’d visualised. My artwork, particularly my lino prints, depict our legends, ancient and contemporary stories, drama, and dances. I am also a traditional Island Dance song composer and have supported or assisted community dance groups perform including interpretational work for Erub Erwer Meta artists. I have joined this group to learn more about the other forms of artwork they do and share my ideas and knowledge.