About this artwork
This bark depicts Yalata close to Dhuruputjpi (about three hours drive South West from Yirrkala). It is a coastal area, this Dhudi Djapu homeland, that has territory leading up a river through plains country behind the beach. The plain is tidal and during the wet seasons it is flooded by the rains and tidal surge creating areas of brackish water. During the dry season the grass and black earth dry out. Then the fires come, turning a swamp into a huge plain of cracked black earth. Fresh water springs dot this sun baked plain forming small islands of vegetation and as Rarrandada (the hot time) builds the thirsty birds come to these sacred springs in their thousands. The noise of the gudurrku or dhanggultji (brolgas) and gurrumatji (magpie geese) is deafening, the mud scored with their tracks and the sky dark with the flocks of wheeling birds.
In Ancestral times, activities of the Djangâ€™kawu took place here. The Djangâ€™kawuÂ – the Dhuwa moiety Creator Beings, in naming this country for the Dhudi Djapu, dug waterholes by plunging their sacred digging sticks in the ground creating waterholes as they did. Freshwater sprung from these wells as did a sacred goanna, a manifestation in some circles of the Djangâ€™kawuÂ themselves. Also on the wet clays around the wells the goanna observed the footprints of Danggultji the Brolga.