Journey to Sea Country
This stunning exhibition presents 50 bark paintings which document the spiritual and legal basis of the Yolŋu people’s ownership of land in northeast Arnhem Land in Northern Australia.
Saltwater ~ Gapu-Monuk celebrates the landmark Yirrkala Bark Paintings of Sea Country, recognising Indigenous Sea Rights.
This stunning exhibition explores 50 of the 80 original Saltwater Collection, made from the prolific stringybark tree, along with Mokuy (spirit) carvings, mortuary pole paintings on hollowed trees and a lipalipa (dugout canoe).
Yolŋu artists from fifteen clans and eighteen homeland communities in east Arnhem Land was initiated by Madarrpa clan leader Djambawa Marawili in 1997, following his indignation at discovering illegal fishing on a sacred site in his clan estate.
Saltwater ~ Gapu-Monuk reveals sacred clan designs demonstrating enduring connection to specific sea country.
These barks are historic as they are sacred, as these particular sea rights paintings will never be produced again.
"...For there lies stories and songs, feelings. These are our feelings. We can feel the water as it goes out and as it comes in. That is why we love the saltwater and sea country."
Statement from Dr Gumana AO*
Dhalwaŋu clan, Yirritja moiety
The exhibition also features audio visual displays with oral histories, song, dance and photography that provide context to the stories and images contained in the barks.
The museum would like to advise visitors that this exhibition may contain the names of, and artwork by, deceased Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people.
Image: Miniyawany Yunupiŋu, From Biranybirany, bark painting, ANMM Collection 00033802.
Open daily, 9.30am–5pm, from November 2017.
Included in the FREE Galleries Ticket.
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The Saltwater catalogue is available at the museum store and features all 80 bark paintings and their stories.
The Australian National Maritime Museum acknowledges the Yolngu people as the traditional custodians of the lands and waters of northeast Arnhem Land. We pay our respects to them and their elders both past and present.
The Yirrkala bark paintings are held in the ANMM collection and were purchased with the assistance of Stephen Grant of the GrantPirrie Gallery.
Eora First People
Extended to 6:00 pm in January
Last boarding time for Submarine and Tall Ships – 4.10pm
Closed Christmas Day 25 December.
+61 2 9298 3777
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© Copyright 2013
Australia National Maritime Museum
Every day 9.30 am - 5 pm
Extend to 6.00 pm in January
Closed Xmas Day 25 Dec.
2 Murrey Street
sydney NSW 2000, AU
+61 2 9298 3777