Dhalmula #2 Burarrwaŋa
Woodblock and Linocut
image size 59 x 40cm: paper size 73 x 52cm Hanhemule
In February/March 2020 Buku-Larrŋgay hosted a workshop with the students of Yirrkala Community Education Centre (the local school). Carly Farugia, the art teacher and her partner Liam- a ranger with Yirralka Homelands Rangers accepted the art centre’s invitation and assisted in sourcing local trees to create woodblocks using this found timber in native species like Gaḏayka (Stringybark), Ḻanapu (Cypress Pine), Djomula (Casuarina) and Ganiri (Beauty Leaf). The thinking was that instead of using woodblocks industrially prepared in pre-cut rectangles would we be able to work directly from the land and allow the shape of the tree to reflect in the composition not just the texture? This workshop was facilitated by master printmaker Sean Smith. He arrived just as the worst of the COVID Pandemic struck Australia. Sean chose to stay for the full length of the workshop despite a real question as to whether he would be able to return home to Melbourne. Dhalmula as a long term printmaker who was facilitating the workshop tried her hand with this piece of Casuarina. These are known in English as Whistling Trees, She-Oak or Casuarina and in Yolŋu matha also as Djomula, Mawurraki, Gaywangi or Warrapangi. She spoke of the calming effect of the whistling sound which comes from the Yirritja songs. Casuarina are the most typical shade for Yolŋu to sit under at the beach as they are able to access the freshwater running down to sea level underground and have a high salt tolerance. The tree itself therefore equates in lived experience with family afternoons eating shellfish and stingray or turtle as the tides come and go. The tree is also strongly represented in sacred song.