Yawk Yawk - freshwater spirit
Yawk Yawk - freshwater spirit

Owen Yalandja

c1960 - Yawk Yawk - freshwater spirit 2008
  • ochre and acrylic on kurrajong bark
240 cm x 30 cm

Owen Yalandja's refined and meticulously painted sculptural works represent a high point in the art-making of the Northern Territory.

Yalandja learned carving from his father, renowned artist Crusoe Kuningbal who invented, in the early 1960's the representation of mimih spirit in sculptural form for use in a trade ceremony called Mamurrng.

The identity of the Darnkolo clan to which Yalandja belongs, is closely related to the Yawkyawk djang (dreaming) for which they have spiritual and practical responsibility. Yawkyawk or young spirit girls are beings that manifest as mermaid-like figures with fish tails. Yalandja and his brother Crusoe Kurddal followed their father's legacy but over the years have found their own distinct styles. In the early 1990s, Yalandja experimented with the dot patterns his father taught him, and created V shaped marks to represent the scales of the watery beings.

Source: Maningrida Arts and Culture

© Owen Yalandja and Maningrida Arts and Culture

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The Wesfarmers Collection of Australian Art acknowledges all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Traditional Custodians of Country and recognises their continuing connection to land, sea, culture and community. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

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