This design belongs to the Walamanŋu clan, one of the six clans that make up the Yan-Nhanŋu speaking clans of the Crocodile Islands. The painting shows one large ratjuk (barramundi) and four smaller garkuyi (blue-tailed mullet) amongst the muŋuṉmuŋun (Aegialitis annulata mangrove species). Ratjuk are often seen chasing garkuyi into the mangrove forests who often hide amongst the muŋuṉmuŋun mangrove species. The different coloured leaves show the leaves in various stages of bloom and decay and the horizontal lines across the painting represents the saltwater that the fish swim in. This painting depicts an important songline held by Yirritja clans in the region.
The artist explains that although ratjuk belong to the Yirritja moiety, they are seen all over in both Yirritja and Dhuwa waters. When holders of the ratjuk story are out on the water and see the fish they will often sing the associated ratjuk manikay (ceremonial songline).
This Walamaŋu design is the painter’s märi (mother’s mother and siblings) meaning he has the authority and responsibility to manage their ceremonial affairs. The Walamaŋu clan are recognised as Traditional Owners for the land that Milingimbi Art and Culture works on.
Our staff have attached aluminium strapping to the back of this artwork. It is ready to hang.