Collection Online
earth pigments on bark
69.5 × 44.0 cm
Place/s of Execution
Yirrkala, Northern Territory
Accession Number
Indigenous Art
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Presented through The Art Foundation of Victoria by Gabrielle Pizzi, Fellow 1997
Gallery location
Not on display
This painting of Djarrakpi refers to the actions of the creator ancestors of the Manggalili people. The bird in the lower centre is Guwak, the coel cuckoo. Two ancestral men, Munuminya and Yakawanga, shown in the centre, travelled in the form of this bird to Djarrakpi, accompanied by many other ancestral people. The artist represents the Yingapungapu sand sculpture used in Yirritja mortuary rites which originated in the ancestral period. The first sand sculpture was built on the beach at Djarrakpi when the two Guwak men, Munuminya and Yakawanga, depicted above the sculptures, went out fishing but drowned after their canoe capised in rough seas, caused by the giant turtle rushing to shore to lay her eggs. The Yingapungapu sculpture moulded in the shape of a boat also makes reference to the boat and the lake at Djarrakpi. The capisised boat is shown in the upper section of the composition. The half figures shown at the upper end of the two sculptures are Mokuy figures which represent the body and spirit of the deceased for whom the mortuary ceremony is being conducted.