Billy’s Barramundi (Ratjuk)

This is a Dhuwa Story. In my back country in the other side we have lots of Barramundi. This is our mother’s totem. These barramundi are a little bit salt and a little bit fresh water. The Rarrk is depicting the water and the shape of the tail and mouth indicate that they are Barramundi. The Rarrk is the fish and the water.

This beautiful depiction of Ratjuk,-Barramundi in the animated and calligraphic style becoming synonymous with Billy Black’s work is painted on a background of the traditional crosshatching (Rarrk) technique of North east Arnhem land.The Rarrk represents the water, abundant with fish which could be salt water or freshwater. Freshwater Barramundi with yellow/orange eyes has a sweeter flesh than the red eyed ocean dwelling Barramundi with firmer flesh. Barramundi has always been a staple food source for Yolngu and often 40 to 50 fish are caught in a few hours, cooked in silver paper on a fire to feed the hunters. The rest are strung on vine ropes and shared with family.