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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art

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Djan'kawu creation story, from the series Djan'kawu story



Mawalan Marika


circa 1908 - 26 Nov 1967

Language group

Rirratjingu, Arnhem region


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


Other Titles

Djanggawo myth no. 4

Djanggawull myth no. 4

Djanggawul myth no. 4

Djang'kawu story no. 4



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


Artist information

Mawalan Marika

Artist profile

Works in the collection



Where the work was made

Shown in 4 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 1 publication


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