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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art

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Title

Mundukul

2015


Artist

Djambawa Marawili

Australia

1953 -

Language group

Madarrpa, Arnhem region


About

‘Our intellectual knowledge exists in the fresh water and becomes one on the salt water’

Djambawa Marrawili is a leader of Madarrpa clan, with senior ceremonial responsibilities in his community of Yirrkala and indeed across Arnhem Land. He co-ordinated the Federal Court sea claim in 2004, which eventuated in the High Court's landmark determination in the 2008 Blue Mud Bay case that declared that Aboriginal people own the land between the low and high water mark. Marawili was instrumental in the development of the ‘Saltwater collection’ of bark paintings that document this connection to country and are now held in the National Maritime Museum, Sydney. Marawili is an artist of international standing and this work, ‘Mundukul’ 2015, was created for Saltwater: the 14th Istanbul Biennial in 2015.
In creating the work Marawili’s intention was to create an image that had healing properties and could absorb the difficult aspects of history, both within Turkey and across the world. Within the image Marawili refers to Mundukul, the lightning snake who may be manifest in multiple forms – from an arc of lightning over the ocean, or as a sandbar at the mouth of estuarine rives where the fresh water meets the salt water. Given these associations Mundukul is strongly aligned with the restorative powers of the wet season and the cleansing of country - he is able to swallow resentments and grief, allowing for a fresh beginning.


Details


Date

2015


Media category

Bark painting


Materials used

natural pigments on bark


Dimensions

242.0 x 103.0 cm


Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.


Credit

Mollie Gowing Acquisition Fund for Contemporary Aboriginal Art 2016


Location

Not on display


Accession number

53.2016


Artist information

Djambawa Marawili

Works in the collection

3


Place

Where the work was made
Yirrkala

Shown in 1 exhibition

Exhibition history


  • Our Land, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 21 Jan 2017–18 Jun 2017