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Yalangbara Suite

Date: 2000
Frame: 1570 x 733 x 20 mm
Medium: Ink on paper, wooden frame
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Copyright: © Banduk Marika
Object Name: Linocut
Object No: 00047711
Related Place:Arnhem Land,

User Terms

    A set of six black and white linocut prints called 'Yalangbara Suite' by Banduk Marika. These six linocut prints tell the story of the Djang'kawu Sisters - the two who created the world - and their creation of the Yolngu people of north-eastern Arnhem Land and are titled:
    Banunbirr -the Morning Star
    Guluwurru -The Canoe in which the Djan'kawu set out on their journey
    Boingu - The Thunderman - bringer of storms during their journey
    Guyamala -The Naming of the Fishes
    MiIngurr - The Sacred Waterhole
    SignificanceThese linocuts tell of one of the most important Creation stories of Arnhem Land - a concise representation of a major Ancestral journey - one that created the Yolngu people, the land forms and waterholes, and named the sea creatures of Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory.
    HistoryYalangbara (Port Bradshaw, south of Yirrkala) is one of the most important Ancestral sites of north-eastern Arnhem Land because it was here that the Djang'kawu Sisters (also spelled Djan'kawu; Djangukawu; Djankawu) and their brother first landed in their canoe which they had paddled from Burralku, an island far to the east. On their way they named - by ceremonial singing - all the Dhuwa creatures of the sea. From Yalangbara the Sisters continued their travels. The sacred designs that the salt spray formed on their bodies and the sacred objects they had brought with them in their canoe were distributed among the Yolngu clans. The Sisters created the clans themselves, giving birth to the first of each clan.

    There are a number of versions of stories of the Creation Sisters celebrated throughout Arnhem Land.

    The artist Dhuwarrwarr Marika (sister of Banduk Marika) tells the story in her own words:
    'Those two sisters called Djangukawu; they came from a place called Burralku in their canoe called Guluwurru. They came paddling, and in their canoe they carried bags, digging sticks, headbands and ceremonial armbands. They came all dressed up, heavily decorated with beautiful sacred objects.

    They paddled and then they saw the sun. And they questioned each other: 'What is that emerging for us?'. So they picked up their ceremonial clapsticks, and they called out their sacred names, creating the sun. It rose by means of the sacred sun, and those two sisters were warmed by its rays.

    Then they saw the dolphin. And they did the same thing; they followed it with their song and clapsticks. And they gave it the name mutjalanydjal. Then they saw the small blue starfish, and they did the same thing, they followed it with their special ceremonial song language, and gave it the name yathiny. The sisters gave names to all the different things whatever they found in the salt water, all the sea creatures and sea forms.

    After that they came to Yalangbara, and they left their canoe there, called Guluwurru. Ang they brought out their bags, their digging sticks, their headbands and their armbands. And they waited there. Then they collected up their sacred objects from the canoe, and they turned around and saw the water, beautifully calm and glassy smooth after the tide had turned and begun to go out, and they called it miyala, mang-wuyupthun, yarrunydjunda,dha-wokman. And off they went with their digging sticks, each sister beautifully decorated with their bags, headbands and armbands.'

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