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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:
Djanggawo myth no. 4
Djanggawull myth no. 4
Djanggawul myth no. 4
Djang'kawu story no. 4
Place of origin
North-east Arnhem LandNorthern TerritoryAustralia
Media category
Bark painting
Materials used
natural pigments on bark

193.0 x 57.2 cm (irreg.)

Gift of Dr Stuart Scougall 1959
Accession number
© Mawalan Marika. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney
20th & 21st c Australian art
Further information

bottom left: The Djan'kawu are still at Port Bradshaw but on the southern side. They left their sacred armbands at one of their camps. The lines represent the feathered pendants hanging from the armband.

bottom right: A fruit with an edible root like a lily or cassava is depicted. At the centre is the root or stem while the radiating lines represent the fruit.

lower left: A female goanna (djanda) with her head under a stone. She is digging for food.

lower right: Wild inedible fruit growing on a palm.

upper left: Leaving there the Djan'kawu walked further. At a resting place they planted two rangga which became wild apple trees.

upper right: The Djan'kawu went back to the beach where they saw a male goanna eating a sand crab. The crab is shown in its hole in the sand.

top left: Two stones are depicted. When the Djan'kawu reached the stones they heard sounds that turned out to be Macassans treating trepang (sea cucumber).

top right: In the sea are underwater sandbanks. The central circle depicts a very deep hole. The radiating lines represent ripples on the sand while the dots represent trepang on one side and shellfish on the other.

The cross-hatching in this painting represents such aspects of the environment as the sea, leaves, swamps, sand, sand disturbed by digging and waves breaking over shallow water.

© Information provided by the artist

Australian Art Department, AGNSW, 2000

Bibliography (1)

Margie West (Editor), Yalangbara: art of the Djang'kawu, Darwin, 2008, 48 (colour illus.).

Exhibition history (4)

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: