Murray Street 2, Darling Harbour, NSW, 2000, Australia
10th November 2017
The exhibition Gapu-Monuk Saltwater Journey to Sea Country, recognising Indigenous Sea Rights is an acknowledgement of the significant and stunning story of the Yolŋu people of northeast Arnhem Land and their fight for recognition of Indigenous Sea Rights. It is a display of Yirrkala Bark Paintings of Sea Country also known as the Saltwater Collection by 47 Yolŋu artists who petitioned for sea rights by painting their Sea Countries onto bark and revealing sacred patterns or designs known as miny’tji, that were created by Ancestral Beings. This exhibition includes Mokuy (spirit) carvings, Larrakitj (mortuary pole paintings on hollowed trees) and other traditional and contemporary works. Yolŋu artists from fifteen clans and eighteen homeland communities in east Arnhem Land created the sacred paintings in a response initiated by Madarrpa clan leader Djambawa Marawili in 1997, following his indignation at discovering illegal fishing on a sacred site in his clan estate. Gapu-Monuk Saltwater reveals sacred clan designs demonstrating enduring connection to specific sea country. The Yirrkala Bark Paintings of Sea Country are as historic as they are sacred, as they will never be produced again.