Marrnyula Mununggurr 'Bawu' Etching and chin collé 2009

Marrnyula Mununggurr

Clan Djapu Balamumu, Moiety Dhuwa, Homeland Wandaway

Bawu 2009


Bawu is a print made during a collaborative project between artists, scientists and printmakers in Blue Mud Bay, Northern Territory. It was shown as part of a larger touring exhibition Djalkiri: We Are Standing on Their Names shown at UTS Gallery, 2012.


The collaboration was held in 2009 on the land of the Yolgnu people, in the Northern Territory, during the anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin’s Origin of the Species. Darwin’s seminal text, based on the theory of natural selection, forms the basis of modern biology. The Yolgnu have a different view, which is expressed through Djalkiri literally meaning footprint but also refers to the underlying foundations of the world. Djalkiri is contained within stories, songs, rituals and art. The collaborative project and exhibition Djalkiri: We Are Standing on Their Names considers the cultural inheritance of the ancestors and reflects the respect for and diversity of cultural beliefs.

Marrnyula Mununggurr dreamt of the image of Bawu, the blue and white flag in the centre of the image that represents the sea rights flag. The white on the flag represents the clouds and the blue represents the water. The lines around the flag represent Mungurru a body of water in Blue Mud Bay.

The Yolgnu people have fought for and won sea rights in Blue Mud Bay to the low water mark ensuring commercial fisheries can not fish for Barramundi, mud crab or trepang (sea cucumber) in these waters without the permission from the Aboriginal Land Council. This ensures the traditional usage and fishing methods of these waters remains. The blue and white sea rights flag has been positioned between the tidal low and high watermarks in ceremonies to reflect the Native Title Rights won in 2008.



“I dreamt about the Bawu and then asked Marrirra and Djambawa if I could paint my mother’s design. I got the permission from them and this is the story for my print…. This is my first painting from my mother’s clan. It tells the story of sea rights. The ceremony for sea rights at Yilpara had this flag situated in the sea connecting clouds and water.”
– Marrnyula Mununggurr