Image Size: 48.2 x 32cm; Paper Size: 76.1 x 32.2cm; Paper: Somerset
This work identifies the reservoirs of the Ŋaymil/Datiwuy clan. Ŋalkan is an area on Ŋaymil land and sea between the Gurrumuru and Cato Rivers that run into the Arnhem Bay. Within this area is another watercourse that leads up into a sacred area of a freshwater spring or Milngurr with special qualities called Balawurru. Dhangultji or Brolga are dancing here. Here Djanda the sacred goanna also swim in the lagoon created by the spring, their actions as they swim causing rippling patterns to be made on the surface that is covered by the totemic water weed Ḏarra. Similarly the force of the water surging from under the ground ripples the surface. Ḻurr’yun is a Yolŋu word for the rippling flow of water.
This plant forms floating forests in only a few very sacred locations. It is a broad leaf emergent plant that sits within the water and flowers in September with a vibrant yellow flower mass.
Dhangultji or Guḏurrku (Brolga) inhabit the adjacent floodplains in huge numbers during the late Dry. They drink from subterranean springs which emerge in the vast flat plains. A safe place to rest, mate and nest. In their avian form they are a manifestation of the Djaŋ’kawu Sisters’ party which travel throughout the Eastern top end, shape shifting and giving birth to the various clans of the Dhuwa moiety. In this case the Ŋaymil.
Others inhabit these waters. Warrukay or Murrukula the Barracuda, the power totem for the Ŋaymil. It spends most of its time in the salt waters. At certain times Warrukay will make its way up to Balawurru bringing the ‘contamination’ of muddied water with it. This has connotations of fertility. It is a place of fertility. Souls of Ŋaymil are both delivered to and from this point between worlds real and spiritual. As the sacred songs used in mortuary are cyclic, narrating the Ancestral Events of the original Creator Beings, so is the journey of the Yolŋu soul. This place is also shared with Dhudi Djapu clan.