David MALANGI DAYMIRRINGU | At the Yathalamarra waterhole

Australia 1927 – 1999
At the Yathalamarra waterhole
8812P90 Vertical image divided into columnar sections including catfish, waterlily bulbs, diver duck and hollow log is far right 1988
Bark Painting
natural pigments on eucalyptus bark
105.0 (h) x 74.0 (w) cm
South Australian Government Grant, 1992 Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
© 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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