Maŋgalili

The Maŋgalili are a Yirritja moiety clan. Their saltwater homeland is at Djarrakpi on the southern shores of Cape Shield.

Important members of Maŋgalili include Narritjin Maymuru, who led the creation of the Yirrkala Church Panels and the Yirrkala painting movement overall. Narritjin’s daughter, Galuma, was one of the first female maḏayin painters. Baluka, the nephew of Narritjin, is the head of the clan and an award-winning artist. This family was key to the production of art in Yirrkala beginning in the 1970s and have won major awards.

Within the clan’s spiritual traditions, Djarrakpi was founded by Guwak (koel cuckoo birds). The Guwak sat on the marawili (meaning favorite place) tree and announced their ownership over the land. Nyapililngu are ancestral women and mother figures of the Yirritja moiety. Other related Yirritja clans sing of the journey of Nyapililngu and the women’s knowledge that she bears. Milngiyawuy (Milky Way) is an epic song cycle that connects the Milky Way to Earth. It includes the breeding grounds of the freshwater crocodile and the salty home of the lightning serpent. Nguykal, or ancestral kingfish, connects the clan to the Wayawu River (freshwater).