Djan'kawu creation story

Mawalan Marika1959

Art Gallery of New South Wales

Art Gallery of New South Wales
Sydney, Australia

bottom left: The Djan'kawu are still at Port Bradshaw but on the southern side. They left their sacred armbands at one of their camps. The lines represent the feathered pendants hanging from the armband.

bottom right: A fruit with an edible root like a lily or cassava is depicted. At the centre is the root or stem while the radiating lines represent the fruit.

lower left: A female goanna (djanda) with her head under a stone. She is digging for food.

lower right: Wild inedible fruit growing on a palm.

upper left: Leaving there the Djan'kawu walked further. At a resting place they planted two rangga which became wild apple trees.

upper right: The Djan'kawu went back to the beach where they saw a male goanna eating a sand crab. The crab is shown in its hole in the sand.

top left: Two stones are depicted. When the Djan'kawu reached the stones they heard sounds that turned out to be Macassans treating trepang (sea cucumber).

top right: In the sea are underwater sandbanks. The central circle depicts a very deep hole. The radiating lines represent ripples on the sand while the dots represent trepang on one side and shellfish on the other.

The cross-hatching in this painting represents such aspects of the environment as the sea, leaves, swamps, sand, sand disturbed by digging and waves breaking over shallow water.

© Information provided by the artist

Australian Art Department, AGNSW, 2000

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  • Title: Djan'kawu creation story
  • Creator: Mawalan Marika
  • Date Created: 1959
  • Location: Yirrkala/North-east Arnhem Land/Northern Territory/Australia
  • Physical Dimensions: 193.0 x 57.2 cm (irreg.)
  • Type: Bark painting
  • Rights: Gift of Dr Stuart Scougall 1959
  • External Link: https://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/collection/works/IA67.1959
  • Medium: natural pigments on bark
  • Object Other Titles: Djanggawo myth no. 4; Djanggawull myth no. 4; Djanggawul myth no. 4; Djang'kawu story no. 4
  • Artist Country: Australia