Artist: LEONARD BOWAYNU
Size/ medium: 20 x 10 cm / PRINT – Etching
Whilst traveling towards the sunset the Djan’kawu Sisters hear dhurubarrpa, the rushing sounds of salt and fresh water meeting. Feeling curious, the Sisters walk towards it until they arrive at Baygita, a beach on the western side of Rapuma Island. Here they stop and enjoy a feed of nirriwan (oysters). They then fall asleep on the beach but wake up thirsty. Using their dhorna (digging sticks) they strike the earth in search of drinking water, but each time they pierce the ground they are surprised that the water is brackish.
To this day Baygita only has salty water. Despite the lack of fresh water the artist’s family lived and thrived there for many generations. He explains that the dhurubarrpa heard by the Djan’kawu Sisters was from a Gapirra site on Gorriyindi sea country fresh water is Dhuwa moiety and the salt water Yirritja. Gapirra are places where Yirritja ga Dhuwa (the two sides of Yolŋu moiety system) waters meet. Gapirra are sacred sites and symbolise the coming together of Walamaŋgu, Gorriyindi and Gamalanga tribal groups.
In this work the nirriwan are depicted on the left side, and the footsteps of the Djan’kawu Sisters on the right.