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Reproduced courtesy of Galuma Maymuru

Yindiwirryun at Djarrakpi

Date: 1998
Overall: 1450 × 820 mm
Medium: Natural pigments on bark
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with the assistance of Stephen Grant of the GrantPirrie Gallery
Object Copyright: © Galuma Maymuru
Object Name: Bark painting
Object No: 00033800
Place Manufactured:Northern Territory

User Terms

    This painting depicts Djarrakpi (Cape Shield), the saltwater country of the Mangalili clan and is representative of their ancestral stories. It shows the turtle Yinipunayi beside the sacred rocks Yinitjuwa, Balamayku and Djuwandjurra which are submerged at high tide. It also features two portrayals of the ancestral parrot fish Yambirrku who was speared by the hunter Muwandi.
    SignificanceThis bark represnts the people of the Yirritja moiety of the Mangalili clan in the homeland of Djarrakpi. It was painted as part of the Saltwater Project by the Yolnu people of East Arnhem Land in an attempt to expres their laws, customs and stories.
    HistoryIn 1996 an illegal fishing camp was discovered at Garranali, a sacred Aboriginal area in East Arnhem Land. The 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 find instigated the local Yolnu people to begin painting a series of barks that demonstrated the rules, philosophies and stories of their region. The end result was the production of 80 barks portraying the Saltwater Country of East Arnhem Land.

    The Yolnu people are intrinsically linked to the land and the saltwater coastline. In 1963 a Swiss mining company began plans to build a mine in their traditional lands. In opposition the Aboriginal community organised a petition that was signed on bark and sent to Parliament. The Yolnu went to court to challenge the proposed development of the mining company and Australian government. Their claims of land ownership were dismissed and the development of the mine continued. This historic event highlighted the issue of Aboriginal land rights to the Australian public.

    In 1976 the Aboriginal Land Rights Act was passed in the Northern Territory, now seen as the benchmark in the recognition of Aboriginal land rights. The Yolnu were decreed the legal owners of northeast Arnhem Land, however their ownership did not extend into the Saltwater coastline. Only in July 2008 have Indigenous rights and use of the Arnhem Land coast been given precedence over commercial interests and fishing. The issue of Aboriginal land rights, customs and laws continues to be contentious in the Australian legal system and wider community.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: Yindiwirryun at Djarrakpi

    Collection title: Saltwater collection

    Primary title: Yindiwirryun at Djarrakpi

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