Djambawa Marawili and Andrew Blake
Language Group
Madarrpa Clan
Place Depicted
Coastal NE Arnhem Land
Clay on iron wood
63 x 10 x 10 cm

Heritage Statement

'Wayin is the generic Yolngu word for bird. This carving could be interpreted as Gany'tjurr (reef heron), totem for coastal Yirritja clan groups or Barriparri (spoonbill) of the freshwater systems of the Dhuwa clan estates. These birds will fly from one coastal estuary to another, working the shores amongst the tides or from billabong to billabong. The flight paths of these birds connect the clan estates by links of kinship set by the original creators as they traversed the country forming these estuaries and billabongs. Opening stanzas of ritual song will, with poetry, narrate the sacred movements of the waters where the wayin frequent, often places where the very identity of contemporary Yolngu of north east Arnhem Land stems. Djambawa is a senior of the Madarrpa clan on Blue Mud Bay and has carved Gany'tjurr (in kapok) many times. Andrew Blake lives in Yirrkala and was encouraged to work in iron wood by his adoptive father Djutjadjutja Mununggurr (December 1999). Djambawa and Andrew have the Yolngu relationship of uncle/nephew across the two moieties. In the non-indigenous world they share the relationship of chairman/manager of the Buku-Larnggay Mulka. Traditional art from north east Arnhem Land illustrates the sacred connections to land. This carving hopes to illustrates the empathy one has for indigenous connections to country without plagiarising art practice and Djambawa continues his reconciliatory stride through the Western world.'