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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 first landing at Yalangbara (Port Bradshaw). The two Djan'kawu dig a well using the sacred mawalan (walking/digging sticks). The yellow rectangular area is a long stone alongside the well. Water is shown running out of the well. The black lines are human hair pendants attached to the mawalan.

lower left: Djan'kawu in the act of planting two sacred djuda trees near a small bay at the mouth of Yalangbara.

lower right: The Djan'kawu campsite. Scalloped area depicts rubbish and sand pushed back from the campsite. In the top left is a palm tree planted by Djan'kawu. The Djan'kawu are shown leaving and two goannas (djanda) taking over the site. Several rangga (ceremonial objects) are shown.

upper left: Another camp site where they leave their armbands with feathered pendants.

upper right: After crossing high sandhills they see the gadmura tree and hear the flying foxes in the tree.

top left: The goanna Djanda is digging in the sand hunting for food and is shown with its head in the hole. Djanda's tracks are shown to the right in the central division.

top right: Another camp site is shown here. Djan'kawu has seen the approaching dry season clouds and he is singing about them. Rangga including the sacred mawalan are shown in the sandhills.

The cross-hatching in this painting represents such aspects of the environment as different types of sand particularly beach sand and sandhills, etc.

© Information provided by the artist

Australian Art Department, AGNSW, 2000


Other Titles

Djannggawo myth no. 3

Djanggawul myth no. 3

Djanggawull myth no. 3

Djang'kawu myth no. 3

Djang'kawu story no. 3



Media category

Bark painting

Materials used

natural pigments on bark


192.0 x 67.5 cm (irreg.)

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 5 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 1 publication


Margie West (Editor), Yalangbara: art of the Djang'kawu, Darwin, 2008, 47 (colour illus.).