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Dhuwarrwarr Marika Yalaŋbara (sand dunes at Yalaŋbara)

natural pigments on bark (Eucalyptus tetradonta)

160 x 87 cm

The design contains the identity of the coastal place of Yalaŋbara – some of the finest sand dunes in the Northern Territory towering above a windswept oceanic beach near the junction of the Arafura Sea and the Gulf of Carpentaria. It’s an important place for the Yolŋu people, especially the Dhuwa moiety, as it’s the landing site of the Djaŋ’kawu – the major creator beings for everything associated with the Dhuwa.

Arriving at sunrise, the Sisters prepare for the first birth, a self-fertilised act of creation. Their white hair, Djawulu, is symbolic of sacred wisdom. Mawalan is the name given to the sacred staff the Sisters use to create springs and rocks and other features in their later journeys through the land of other Dhuwa clans. The design shows saltwater drying on their skin, the sand slipping down as the Sisters mount the dunes. The sun has risen on the birth of a nation: the Rirratjiŋu clan.

Dhuwarrwarr Marika, 2020