Mäṉa (shark) (#46-20)
This work depicts the Dhuwa moiety Märṉa (shark), who inhabits this site named Wandangurr at the boundary of Datiwuy and Wangurri clan estates east of Galiwin’ku (Elcho Island). This is where the Yirritja moiety Gapu Gularri (fresh water) and Dhuwa moiety Gapu Murrupu (salt water) mix to create Gapu Moṉuk . Conceptually, this merging represents the ceremonial relationship between Datiwuy (Dhuwa) and Wangurri (Yirritja) clans. Yolŋu call this ceremonially binding relationship Yothu Yindi, which can be translated as ‘mother and child’ or ‘big family’ but is actually symbolic of all interdependent ceremonial relationships.
The Dhukurrurru (sacred rock) is at the mouth of a Yirritja Moiety river named Djarnggulk, close to the homeland of Dhalinbuy which is a country belonging to the Wanguri Munyarriyun clan, that of the artists’s mother. It is inundated by salt water on high tides which flows around its top half while heavier fresh river continues to flow around its base. In this story Marna is swimming south from the Datiwuy homeland Rrorrawuy, following Dhuwa moiety salt water currents which are depicted by the Rarrk (cross hatching) in this work. When encountering the Dhukurruru on a high tide, Marna attempts to swim through the Makarr or legs of Dhukurrurru and gets stuck. Dhukurrurru then asks Marna in Wanguri language, ’please don’t swim through my legs or cover my eyes, swim around my head’. Marna agrees and then says to the Dhukurrurru speaking Datiwuy language, ‘Mother, don’t make the water dirty, I’ll swim over the top of you so I can see’.
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