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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: The goanna (djanda) is depicted in the centre while on either side are shown male and female goannas on the sandhills at Yalangbara (Port Bradshaw). Djanda is represented lying on a large rock. The semi-circles are goanna holes while the zig-zag lines are the tracks of the goanna going into holes in the rock.

lower left: This section shows goanna tracks through the sandhills.

lower right: The wild turkey is depicted eating wild berries and nuts.

upper left: Flying foxes are depicted in a gadmura tree.

upper right: The goanna (djanda) is shown with a 'singing tree' (casuarina).

top left: A male and two female goannas play in the sand.

top right: The camp of Djan'kawu and his sisters. He calls out names of the related clan language groups of the area. They are depicted by the squares. Black inner corner Rirratjingu, black upper square Marrakulu, top red Djarlwark, lower square Ngaymil.

The cross-hatching shows aspects of the environment such as sandhills, sand falling away as the goanna travels across the sandhill, goanna tracks, the wild turkey nest, etc.

© Information provided by the artist

Australian Art Department, AGNSW, 2000


Other Titles

Djang'kawu myth no. 2

Djannggawo myth no. 2

Djanggawul myth no. 2

Djanggawull myth no. 2

Djang'kawu story no. 2



Media category

Bark painting

Materials used

natural pigments on bark


190.5 x 63.5 cm

Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.


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 2 publications


Margie West (Editor), Yalangbara: art of the Djang'kawu, Darwin, 2008, 46 (colour illus.).

Judith White (Editor), Look, 'End of a dream ... almost!', pg. 13, Melbourne, Nov 2000, 13 (colour illus.).