Buku-Larrnggay Arts, Yirrkala NT
Cooee Gallery, Sydney
A sacred expanse of water behind the Gangan outstation where this work was produced is referred to as Gulutji. The initial activities of Barama the great Ancestral Being for the Yirritja moiety took place here. From travelling
from the seaside at Blue Mud Bay he emerged from the waters of Gulutji. Council was held with ‘Disciple’ Ancestors and Yirritja Law was ‘written’. From this place the Yirritja (the Yirritja moiety together with the Dhuwa moiety forms a duality system that keeps all past, present and future life in balance) nation spread as it traversed its country establishing clan estates and governing policy including language, ceremonial ritual and miny’tji (signature of sacred design of event and place- this word describes the patterns employed in this work).
One of the metaphorical overviews of the work is the union between the different subgroups of the Dhalwangu clan in the ancestral cycle of regular fishtrap ceremonies they join together in celebrating. The last one of these
was five years ago. These gatherings are ceremonial but also social and educational.
The sacred diamond design generally refers to the waters around Gangan but here are encased in a strong grid of vertical and horizontal lines which show the structure of the fishtrap made during Mirrawarr (early Dry Season) with Rangan (paperbark) and wooden stakes. This is the Buyku or fishtrap area which is ‘company’ land (ie. shared by all the people who live by/sing the river). The Dhalwangu and allied groups who participate in this song cycle and fishing activity are hunting Baypinga (Saratoga) as does the Gany’tjurr (Reef Heron) which they identify with as the archetypal Yirritja hunter.Share