Yawkyawk Story
Yawkyawk Story


The artist has painted two Yawk Yawk guarding a sacred water hole. Yawk Yawk are sometimes described as ‘mermaids’ who live in trees and water in special places in western Arnhem Land. The waterhole is filled with mandem (water lilies) and the tree growing from it is Manbelk (pandanus).

Yawk Yawk start out in a tadpole-like form and grow fish tails as they mature. They spend most of their time in the water but are able to sit on the banks of billabongs. When fully grown they are able to change their tails into legs and walk on land to forage for food. It is believd that Yawk Yawk transform into dragonflies at the end of the wet season, which signifies to the binninj (aboriginal people) the rains have finished.

Yawkyawk kamarnburren  kambebme kore Karlkke beh.wanjh kunberd kadjordmen yiman djenj wanjh yawkyawk kabirriyimerran.bedda kabirrini kore kukku kukadjid.dja bu kabirriwernhdjordmen wanjh kunberd kayimerran kundad bokenh bedberre wanjh kabirriwohre manberrk manme kabirriyawan.Dja bu mandjewk kaburnbun wanjh kabirrikukborledkerren kabiriyimerran djalangkarridjdjalangkarridj wanjh bininj kandibengdayhke bu mandjewk burnbom dja djenj kabirrimulewan.

Size 41 x 61 cm | Medium Paper | Catalogue # 2000-22 | Year 2022

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Artist  Joey Nganjmirra

Joey Nganjmirra is a storyteller, dancer and cultural ambassador. Amongst the younger generation in Gunbalanya, he is one of those who have taken on the task of carrying on the Stories.
Many of his works are driven by narrative, with figures in different stages of a story compressed into a single scene. Others include strong graphic forms, often overlayed and woven into complex designs. His works are primarily figurative, but the interlocking figures sometimes tend towards abstraction and he also produces abstract works based on ceremonial patterns. A look through his works reveals a broad range of stories and original compositions rivalled by few other artists at Injalak.
His Mamam (maternal grandfather) Mirndabal Manakgu was from Mangardubu, and he has many stories from this area north of Gunbalanya such as Wulwunj.
Joey Nganjmirra is part of a rich artistic family (Nganjmirra) and clan group (Djalama). He is a member of the Karrbarda dance troupe which often performs at festivals as well as local ceremonies. He is the son of Rachael Manakgu and Steven Nganjmirra. 


further details

Size 41 x 61 cm
Medium  Paper
Catalogue # 2000-22
Year 2022