In October 2009 artists Djambawa Marawili, Marrirra Marawili, Liyawaday Wirrpanda, Marrnyula Mununggurr and Mulkun Wirrpanda participated in a printmaking workshop with master printmaker Basil Hall at the community of Yilpara working alongside visiting artists Fiona Hall, John Wolseley, Jörg Schmeisser and Judy Watson. The 23 selected exhibition works resulting from this exchange capture essential aspects of country at Blue Mud Bay in Eastern Arnhem Land, recognised as one of the most pristine and culturally significant places in Australia.
The title, Djalkiri: we are standing on their names – Blue Mud Bay, drawn from the words of Djambawa Marawili, Djalkiriliterally means ‘footprint’, however when applied to Yolgnu law it takes on a more profound meaning, forming the ‘spiritual foundation of the world’. It is an acknowledgement of cultural inheritance based on understanding and mutual respect. It is about walking together in the footsteps of the ancestors.
At Yilpara the artists made trips to country – accompanied by ethno-biologist Glenn Wightman, anthropologist Howard Morphy and photographer Peter Eve – visiting ancestral sites and sharing traditional and scientific knowledge. Around the campfire at night they discussed culture, history, sea rights and events, each of the artists responding to the experience in their own way.
Image Credit: John Wolseley, Sea Wrack: Tide after Tide – Baniyala, 2010, etching, 50 x 62 cm Photo courtesy of Nomad Art Productions