Dhaḻwaŋu

The Dhaḻwaŋu clan belongs to the Yirritja moiety. The most important Dhaḻwaŋu songlines relate to the Yirritja creation ancestor Barama, who emerged from the waters at Mulkanayŋu, bringing Law to all the Yirritja clans. Along with the Maḏarrpa and Maŋgalili clans, the Dhaḻwaŋu also perform ceremonies relating to the yiŋapuŋapu, the elliptical sand sculpture used in funeral ceremonies.

The Dhaḻwaŋu clan’s main homeland is at Gäṉgaṉ, a freshwater area consisting of rivers, waterholes, and stringybark eucalyptus forest. Their coastal estate is Garrapara, where there is a permanent yiŋapuŋapu. Many members of the clan also live at Gurrumurru and Gapuwiyak. 

Members of the Dhaḻwaŋu clan use the last names Gumana and Wunuŋmurra. Birrikitji Gumana was the most senior contributor to the Yirritja side of the Yirrkala Church Panels, and with his sons Gawirriṉ and Yaŋgarriny re-established Gäṉgaṉ as a homeland for the Dhaḻwaŋu people. Dr. Gawarriṉ Gumana AO was an ordained Methodist minister, a member of the Order of Australia and a a significant leader of the Yolŋu people. He was a highly honored ceremonial elder and painter. Yaŋgarriny was the first Aboriginal Australian artist to have his copyright recognized in an Australian court after one of his designs was reproduced on a carpet without permission. In 1997, he was awarded first prize at the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards. His daughter Djirrirra is also a bark painter. His son Nawurapu was a painter and sculptor who paved the way for the Buwayak (invisibility) movement of bark paintings without figurative imagery. 

The consulting curator from the Dhaḻwaŋu clan for this project was Yinimala Gumana.

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