53 x 79cm Hanhemuhle
Macassan Swords and Long Knives
This is the first time that senior artist Dhuwarrwarr has adapted this theme to print format. She found the inspiration for this painting from the work of her father, Mawalan Marika (c.1908 – 67) entitled Macassan swords and long knives (1947). This work by her father features in the book Yirrkala Drawings, a collection of early Yolŋu drawings, compiled by anthropologists Ronald and Catherine Berndt. The swords in this painting can be seen as symbols of the relationship that Yolŋu shared with the seafaring Macassans, whose visitation spanned over many centuries until the very early 1900’s. Yolŋu clans who sing and dance these stories of interaction with Macassans tell of steel knives, pillows, tobacco, cards, money and alcohol, amongst many other objects that were introduced and traded.
Printed July 2019 by Sean Smith