DETAIL : Jimmy BAKER 'Katatjita' 2006 synthetic polymer paint on canvas, Courtesy of Marshall Arts Aboriginal Fine Art Gallery, � Jimmy Baker


I always use the same wood, kurrajong [Brachychiton diversifolius], to make my sculptures. My father [Crusoe Kuningbal] used the same wood and taught me and my brother [Crusoe Kurddal] how to carve. He only did mimih spirit figures and when I first started as an artist, I used to make mimih figures as well. Then I decided to change and to start representing yawkyawk spirit figures.

Yawkyawk is a bit the equivalent of a mermaid in balanda culture. Yawkyawk is my Dreaming and she lives in the water at Barrihdjowkkeng near where I have set up my outstation. She has always been there. I often visit this place.

I love making these sculptures and I have invented a way to represent the fish scales on her body. The colours I use have particular meanings [which are not public]. I make them either red or black. I am now teaching all my kids to carve, just like my father did for us. My son Dustin Bonson is already working for the arts centre.


Owen Yalandja, interview by Apolline Kohen, 4 February 2007, Cadell Outstation, Northern Territory.