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Reproduced courtesy of Djambawa Marawili

Mangalili Yindiwirryun

Date: 1998
Dimensions:
Overall (Depth measured April 2015): 1590 × 750 × 36 mm, 5.3 kg
Medium: Natural pigments on bark
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with the assistance of Stephen Grant of the GrantPirrie Gallery
Object Copyright: © Djambawa Marawili
Classification:Art
Object Name: Bark painting
Object No: 00033767
Place Manufactured:Northern Territory

User Terms

    Description
    This bark painting could be described as portraying the cross sections of the Mangalili Saltwater country. The miny'tji (sacred clan design) represents the saltwater surrounding the ancestral sacred fish spear that was thrown at Yindiwirryun, a sacred rock. This bark shows the turtle Yinipunayi swimming around the base of Yindiwirryun and the Wanupini (storm clouds) gathering on the horizon. The Burrkun, an X shaped configuration on the painting is linked to the ancestral mother Nyapalinu and her characteristics of womanhood and fertility.
    SignificanceThis bark is representative of the stories of the people belonging to the Yirritja moiety of the Madarrpa clan in the homeland of Baniyala. It was painted as part of the Saltwater Project by the Yolnu people, an Indigenous effort to educate others of their stories and sacred sites.

    HistoryThe Yolnu people of Arnhem Land inhabit a landscape that was formed by the actions of ancestral beings, who can take both human and animal form. For instance water now flows where these creatures walked and hills have formed where they died. Ancestral time is not just in the past but also the present and future. In light of this the sacred landscape and stories of East Arnhem Land are central to the Yolnu people’s way of life and prominent themes in their bark paintings.

    The Saltwater Project began in 1996 after an illegal fishing camp was discovered at Garranali, a sacred Aboriginal site in East Arnhem Land. This sacred area is home to the ancestral crocodile Bäru and found among the litter of the illegal camp was the severed head of a crocodile. This discovery prompted the local Yolnu people to produce a series of bark paintings that expressed the rules, philosophies and stories of their region. The project culminated in the production of 80 barks and stressed the importance of Yolnu land ownership, laws and codes of behaviour for those who interacted with the landscape.

    The Yolnu have been involved in the land rights struggle since the 1960s. They currently are recognised as the traditional owners of northeast Arnhem Land under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act. This act was passed in the Northern Territory in 1976 and is seen as the benchmark for the recognition of Aboriginal land ownership in Australia. Despite this the issues of Indigenous land ownership, rights, customs and law continue to be contentious in the Australian legal system and wider community.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: Mangalili Yindiwirryun

    Collection title: Saltwater collection

    Primary title: Mangalili Yindiwirryun

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