Skip to content


An image of Djan'kawu creation story by Mawalan Marika

Mawalan Marika

(Australia circa 1908 – 26 Nov 1967)

Language group
Rirratjingu, Arnhem region
Djan'kawu creation story, from the series Djan'kawu story
Other titles:
Djannggawo myth no. 3
Djanggawul myth no. 3
Djanggawull myth no. 3
Djang'kawu myth no. 3
Djang'kawu story no. 3
Place of origin
YirrkalaNorth-east Arnhem LandNorthern TerritoryAustralia
Media category
Bark painting
Materials used
natural pigments on bark

192.0 x 67.5 cm (irreg.)

Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Gift of Dr Stuart Scougall 1959
Accession number
© Mawalan Marika. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney
20th & 21st c Australian art
Further information

bottom: The first landing at Yalangbara (Port Bradshaw). The two Djan'kawu dig a well using the sacred mawalan (walking/digging sticks). The yellow rectangular area is a long stone alongside the well. Water is shown running out of the well. The black lines are human hair pendants attached to the mawalan.

lower left: Djan'kawu in the act of planting two sacred djuda trees near a small bay at the mouth of Yalangbara.

lower right: The Djan'kawu campsite. Scalloped area depicts rubbish and sand pushed back from the campsite. In the top left is a palm tree planted by Djan'kawu. The Djan'kawu are shown leaving and two goannas (djanda) taking over the site. Several rangga (ceremonial objects) are shown.

upper left: Another camp site where they leave their armbands with feathered pendants.

upper right: After crossing high sandhills they see the gadmura tree and hear the flying foxes in the tree.

top left: The goanna Djanda is digging in the sand hunting for food and is shown with its head in the hole. Djanda's tracks are shown to the right in the central division.

top right: Another camp site is shown here. Djan'kawu has seen the approaching dry season clouds and he is singing about them. Rangga including the sacred mawalan are shown in the sandhills.

The cross-hatching in this painting represents such aspects of the environment as different types of sand particularly beach sand and sandhills, etc.

© Information provided by the artist

Australian Art Department, AGNSW, 2000

Bibliography (1)

Margie West (Editor), Yalangbara: art of the Djang'kawu, Darwin, 2008, 47 (colour illus.).

Exhibition history (5)

Gamarada, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 15 Nov 1996–16 Feb 1997

Australian icons: twenty artists from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 04 Aug 2000–03 Dec 2000

Yalangbara, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 11 May 2006–23 Jul 2006

Country Culture Community (2008-09), Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 12 Nov 2008–19 Apr 2009

Yalangbara: art of the Djang'kawu: