We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.

🛈 Find out what you need to know before visiting


Yirrkala story



Mawalan Marika


circa 1908 – 26 Nov 1967

Language group: Rirratjingu, Arnhem region

Artist profile

  • Details

    Place where the work was made
    Yirrkala North-east Arnhem Land Northern Territory Australia
    Media category
    Bark painting
    Materials used
    natural pigments on bark
    167.0 x 67.5 cm
    Signature & date

    Not signed. Not dated.

    Gift of Mollie Gowing 1980
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © Mawalan Marika/Copyright Agency

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Mawalan Marika

    Artist profile

    Works in the collection


  • About

    On the other side of Melville Bay a man, Murruma, was killed by some men in a fight. Three of his brothers have buried him in the grave and now they are dancing with the women for him. When the finished dancing they decide to go and finish a log and they put his bones inside it and now six men have carried the log to another place and the women are crying for him and the men dance while the music is played – the clay sticks and the didgeridoo. After they have finished dancing around the log they find his sacred dilly bag and all of the people dance and sing around this. The bag is made from string from a tree. The birds have pulled the end of the string and it is frayed.

    [Art Centre documentation attached to the verso of the bark]

  • Places

    Where the work was made


  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 2 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 3 publications

Other works by Mawalan Marika

See all 16 works