Garrawura Minyt'ji by Margaret Dhunbaḻmirriwuy

Garrawura Minyt’ji

Each Yolngu clan was created by their ancestors as they moved along the country whilst they were singing, dancing and talking. Each time they arrived at a new land, they created distinct rom (culture, law). A part of this rom is miny’tji (art, totemic designs, colours). Each clan has a distinct miny’tji, and Yolngu can tell where someone is from by their miny’tji. The ancestors passed down sacred designs, some of which are secret or have secret meanings. These designs were traditionally painted on people’s bodies, or carved into sacred objects. More recently, they have been painted on canvases and barks. This painting is of Dhunbaḻmirriwuy’s miny’tji. It uses the colours which were passed down to her from her ancestors. The circles represent waterholes, while the lines represent the land. This design is a sort of coat of arms for the Garrawura clan.