Ḻukunydja - Bountiful

17 April - 11 May 2024

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A solo exhibition of Yalmakany Marawili presented by Aboriginal & Pacific Art in association with Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Centre, Yirrkala, NT.

"Look! How beautiful is the country itself which was given by our old people! And now we are living in their footsteps. Living how they taught us. To see the beauty of the land that we are living in. Look at how rich is the land, which is full of everything! It is bountiful, rich and beautiful.

My paintings are because of my mother, the old lady. She did a lot of paintings of food plants, fruits and medicines available to us Yolŋu. How the old people survived and fed themselves from the land. The old people were so strong and healthy and lived happily for a long time. This is why I have jumped into her footsteps to follow her path. I am building on her work because of all she taught me. Some of the young people in my family are knowledgeable about these plants because we are always teaching them.

I have painted some of the tubers that she painted like Ganguri, Buwakul, Ganay, Yukuwa, Rinytjaŋu, Bundjuŋu, and also all the fruits. But mainly I am describing plants that she had not shown yet by the time she passed away.

We use these medicines ourselves. We use Murrtjumun for boils, Nambara for coughs, Butjiriŋaniŋ for healthy skin and body, Borukpili for flu, Luŋiny for eye soreness and Munydjutj for toothache. All of the tubers and fruits I have painted we still eat now. When we go into the rainforest to dig for tubers we always start by eating the ripe fruit first.

The background pattern behind the plants I have painted is just the breeze blowing through the trees and cooling us down.

It makes me emotional thinking that my mother would be proud to see her mission continued. My previous jobs have been in art, education and land management and it feels like they all combine to help me pursue this vision of keeping useful plant knowledge alive."

- Transcript of recording Yalmakany 27.3.24