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Contemporary art

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art

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Balanda crown ga Yolngu crown - Birrkuḏa Galinyin



Joe Dhamanydji


26 May 1960 -

Language group

Gupapuyngu Daygurrgurr, Arnhem region


Joe Dhamanydji is among the leading artists working in Yurrwi (Milingimbi) today. He is widely recognised for his detailed paintings on bark and larrakitj which focus on subjects most important to Gupapuyŋu people. Dhamanydji learnt of these subjects from his father, the renowned artist Tom Djawa, and the Gallery is fortunate to hold works by both artists in the collection. In this work Dhamanydji refers to the moment in 1954 in Toowoomba, Queensland when his father Tom Djawa, met Queen Elizabeth II.

The art centre documentation for the work states:

“To depict this meeting the artist has combined his Guku Galanyin ga waṉ’kurra miny'tji (Gupapuyŋu clan wild honey-bee and bandicoot body paint designs), with the Australian coat of arms and a Balanda (European) crown.

Guku Galanyin ga waṉ’ kurra miny'tji belongs to Gupapuyŋu people of the Yirritja moiety. The Balanda crown appears at the top of the bark, together with the coat of arms. The elongated triangular shapes beneath the coat of arms are Guyuwa or the protruding nose of the native bees’ hive. Dhamanydji also describes the Guyuwa motif as a crown for Yolŋu people. The central diamond pattern in the work is native beeswax or honeycomb. The rärrk (cross-hatching) inside the diamonds symbolises the flowing guku (honey), while the solid yellow block at the base of the work is the dhuḏi dharpa (tree stump), symbolic of the foundational knowledge held by Gupapuyŋu people. The dashes of yellow, black, red and white represent scratching made by, Gupapuyŋu clan totem, waṉ’kurra (bandicoot).”




Media category

Bark painting

Materials used

natural pigments on bark


125.0 x 50.0 cm


Wendy Baron Bequest 2020


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Joe Dhamanydji

Works in the collection



Where the work was made