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Gapu-Monuk Saltwater

Journey to Sea Country

The exhibition Gapu-Monuk Saltwater — Journey to Sea Country acknowledges the significant story of the Yolŋu people of northeast Arnhem Land and their fight for recognition of Indigenous Sea Rights and the Blue Mud Bay legal case.

In essence it is a display of Yirrkala Bark Paintings of Sea Country also known as the Saltwater Collection. 47 Yolŋu artists petitioned for sea rights by painting their Sea Countries onto bark and revealing sacred patterns or designs known as miny’tji, that were created by Ancestral Beings.

This stunning exhibition will also include Mokuy (spirit) carvings, Larrakitj (mortuary pole paintings on hollowed trees), lipalipa (dugout canoe) and other traditional and contemporary works.

Yolŋu artists from fifteen clans and eighteen homeland communities in east Arnhem Land created the sacred paintings in a response initiated by Madarrpa clan leader Djambawa Marawili in 1997, following his indignation at discovering illegal fishing on a sacred site in his clan estate.

Gapu-Monuk Saltwater reveals sacred clan designs demonstrating enduring connection to specific sea country. The Yirrkala Bark Paintings of Sea Country are as historic as they are sacred, as they will never be produced again.



Every day, 9.30am to 5pm

Thursday 9 November 2017 to Thursday 10 May 2018

Except Christmas Day


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