- Medium: earth pigments on board
- Size: 120 x 93cm
- Catalogue #4211-20
- Created: 2020
For some 300 years, until the beginning of the twentieth century, Macassan fishermen from what is now Sulawesi in Indonesia used to sail to the northern shores of Australia every monsoon season to collect sea cucumbers (trepang). They introduced metal to the Yolŋu (Aboriginal people of Eastern Arnhem Land) as well as words which are still in use today: the Yolŋu word for ‘outsider’ is balanda, a variation on the word ‘Hollander’. The prahu, with its distinctive sails and two rudders, is shown with its crew, the cargo of sacks of rice, trepang, and swords and axes. The background design is the Rirratjiŋu clan design for water.
(Full information on artwork certificate.)
- Born: c.1945
- Language group: Yolŋu
- Moiety: Dhuwa
- Clan: Rirratjiŋu, Miliwurrwurr group
- Homelands: Yirrkala, Yalaŋbara, Gulurunga, Bremer Island
Dhuwarrwarr’s father, Mawalan, was the ceremonial leader of the Rirratjiŋu tribe and was steeped
in the mythology of his people. He painted up to the time of his death, and with failing eyesight and poor health, allowed Dhuwarrwarr to help him, after consultation with his sons and brothers and elders of the group. She has not painted since his death until recently, when she again requested permission from her brothers to do so.
Born in 1945 Dhuwarrwarr is sister of Wandjuk, Bayŋgul and Banduk Marika, and daughter of Mawalan, the Rirratjiŋu clan leader who originally welcomed the missionaries to set up on his land, creating the beginnings of modern day Yirrkala.
Dhuwarrwarr is a statesperson for her people, representing them on various committees and institutions such as Land Councils and Women’s groups. In 1993 she travelled to Europe as an invited speaking guest for the opening of the international traveling exhibition of ‘Aratjara – Art of the First Australians’.
She also attends to the day-to-day needs of a wide group of young and old clans-people with a particular emphasis on guiding and guarding the young minds of her family. She lives on Rirratjiŋu land either at her house overlooking the beach and creek at Yirrkala or at Gutjangan on Bremer Island.
Her first genuine solo exhibition held relatively late in her career, ‘Milngurr’ at Vivien Anderson Gallery in Melbourne in 2008 was a literal sell out within 5 minutes of opening. Institutional Collections purchased the bulk of the works. She has continued to exhibit commercially and to be shown in institutional shows to this day. Her second solo exhibition was at Songlines in Darwin in 2021.
Provenance: this artwork was sourced from Buku Larrnggay Mulka, Yirrkala in NE Arnhem Land