Australia 1927 – 1999
ABART-1116 Large central figure surrounded by leaf shapes, hollow log coffin bottom left 1989
Bark Painting
natural pigments on eucalyptus bark
102.5 (h) x 57.0 (w) cm
Acquired 1990 with Mobil Oil Funds. Mobil Yathalamarra collection Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory Collection, Darwin
© David Malangi. Licensed by VISCOPY, Australia
VIEW: Article |

While some expansive barks gave a comprehensive chronicle of the billabong, others focused on its particular sites and ancestral events. At the Yathalamarra waterhole focuses on the site Djalumbudjapin.

Murayana, the mokuy [ghost] and Burala, the Darter bird are related to the Djalumbu, hollow log ceremony. During this secondary burial rite the deceased’s bones are cleaned, painted and deposited in a decorated hollow log. Murayana is the ‘boss’ for the Djalumbu ceremony and therefore has responsibility over the performance of the public series of ‘forest’ dances associated with this internment ritual.

Murayana came from the east, through other Yirritja clan countries to Balmbi land. He brought with him the hollow logand performed the Djalumbu, hollow log ceremony, at Burridulpum a Balmbi area north of Yathalamarra. The log travelled to Yathalamarra where it went underground and formed a section of the billabong where it resides today at Djalumbudjapin. [1]

[1] ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Excerpt from Margie West, ‘Yathalamara — land of the waterlily’ in the exhibition catalogue No ordinary place: the art of David Malangi, Canberra: National Gallery of Australia, 2004, p. 42–50. 

The publication, which includes articles by the exhibition curator Susan Jenkins, Nigel Lendon and Djon Mundine, is available from the Gallery Shop for $34.95 (RRP $49.95) or online at ngashop.com.au.

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