Mäṉa ga Dhukurrurru (shark and sacred rock)

Ochre on wood, 185 x 18 cm, 2016 

This work depicts the Dhuwa moiety Mäṉa (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 mouk . 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 Mäṉa 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, Mäṉa attempts to swim through the makarr or legs of Dhukurrurru and gets stuck. Dhukurrurru then asks Mäṉa in Wanguri language, ’please don’t swim through my legs or cover my eyes, swim around my head’. Mäṉa 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’.

Interested in this artwork but thinking about a commission? Email us to discuss the details.

Interested in this artwork but thinking about a commission? Email us to discuss the details.

Milingimbi Art and Culture Aboriginal Corporation

The Milingimbi Art and Culture Aboriginal Corporation is a community owned Art Centre that maintains an important position in the national art and cultural arena. Milingimbi Art and Culture has a long history of producing works steeped in active cultural practice such as barks, ceremonial poles, carvings and weavings. Works from Milingimbi are integral to important collections in many National and International institutions.


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