THE SALTWATER COLLECTION.
The exhibition centres around 40 Yirrkala bark paintings from the Saltwater Collection, created by the Yolŋu artists who petitioned for sea rights by painting their ‘Sea Countries’ onto bark, and revealing sacred patterns or designs known as Miny’tji.
It also includes Mokuy (spirit) carvings, Larrakitj (mortuary pole paintings on hollowed trees) and other traditional and contemporary works.
Oral histories, aerial photography and traditional and contemporary indigenous objects help visitors delve deeper into the stories of the communities who created the paintings, creating a richer understanding of their connection to sea country.
A FIGHT FOR RECOGNITION.
In 1997, Yolŋu artists from fifteen clans and eighteen homeland communities in North-East Arnhem Land created these sacred paintings in response to Madarrpa clan leader Djambawa Marawili, AM, following his indignation at discovering illegal fishing on a sacred site in his clan estate.
More than a decade later, in July 2008, the High Court of Australia confirmed that the traditional owners of the Blue Mud Bay region in North-East Arnhem Land, together with the traditional owners of almost the entire Northern Territory coastline, have exclusive access rights to tidal waters overlying Aboriginal land.
The paintings were deemed the legal equivalent of title deeds to the sea rights of coastal waters.
Gapu-Monuk are words from the Yolŋu matha language, of North-East Arnhem Land. Gapu (water), monuk (salt), describes Saltwater.
Open daily, 9.30am–5pm, from 9 November 2017 – 1 February 2019.
Included in the FREE Galleries Ticket.
HELP SUPPORT INDIGENOUS ARTISTS
The museum store has developed a unique range of Indigenous-made products that speak to the stories and themes in the Gapu-Monuk exhibition. ExhibitioYou’ll find an array of inspired choices that reflect both the art and the experiences of Indigenous Australians when you shop online.
The range acknowledges the traditional land owners of Australia, and a percentage of profits are directly endowed to Indigenous communities and artists.
The Australian National Maritime Museum acknowledges the Yolngu people as the traditional custodians of the lands and waters of North-East Arnhem Land. We pay our respects to them and their elders both past and present.
The Yirrkala bark paintings are held in the ANMM collection and were purchased with the assistance of Stephen Grant of the GrantPirrie Gallery.
The museum would like to advise visitors that this exhibition may contain the names of, and artwork by, deceased Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people.
For sale at the Museum shop for $35.