Yinimala Gumana | Dhaḻwaŋu Clan Designs
"This painting is very important to our Yolŋu people of the Yirritja moiety, and particularly to my Dhalwaŋu clan. It is about Gäṉgäṉ, a central place for the Yirritja clans, where Barama lived. You can see Barama at the top, the central creator, thinking our Country into being, distributing different sacred objects, Law and ownership to the Yirritja clans. Barama was living in Gäṉgän, and that is how we maintain the Law that he passed on to our ancestors, through our forefathers, for generation after generation. We carry on this legacy of the leadership that Barama laid down in our Country. And down the bottom, you can see minhala, the long necked turtle. It is an important animal that we sing. It holds a story that has been sung for thousands of years by my people. And then there is gany'tjurr, the heron, looking down to the Gäṉgän waterhole. And you can see the two lightning snakes, burrut’ji, meeting each other, their tongues coming together and communicating to each other, as well as to others across Arnhem Land. All these patterns are connected to the land and contain deep meanings. The patterns have stories and songlines, and Djirrikay and Dalkarra, which are different forms of diplomacy and different ways of telling the stories. Very deep knowledge from the Dalkarra. We sing through the manikay and we sing through the Dalkarra. So that is the story of this bark painting. It is a story painted by the old people, and today I put it forward to show the way that we can pass this story on, sending it all around the world. So today, I pass on this story, it is a story that is special to me and my family, but also to other clans. For while the Dhuwa have Djan’kawu, the Yirritja have Barama. It is a different story, a different meaning, and a different ownership."
– Yinimala Gumana
Natural pigments on eucalyptus bark
101 3/16 x 33 15/32 x 4 5/16
257 x 85 x 11
Forthcoming acquisition. Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of the University of Virginia. The 2017-19 Kluge-Ruhe Maḏayin Commission.
About The Artist
Yinimala Gumana is an important young leader of the Dhaḻwaŋu clan. The son of Dhäkuwal Gumana, Yinimala was raised by his father’s brother, Gawirriṉ Gumana, after Dhäkuwal’s death. Yinimala assisted his adopted father with many of his works before emerging as an artist in his own right in 2004. In 2011 he was elected Chairperson of Buku-Larrnggay Mulka. Since 2017, he has been one of the lead curators of Maḏayin: Eight Deacades of Aboriginal Australian Bark Painting from Yirrkala.
Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of the University of Virginia
Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory