Gapu-Monuk Saltwater: Journey to Sea Country

9 November 2017–1 February 2019

Exhibition Overview

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Gapu-Monuk Saltwater: Journey to Sea Country tells the powerful story of the Yolŋu people of North-East Arnhem Land, their fight for recognition of Indigenous sea rights and the Blue Mud Bay legal case. Discover how historic bark paintings were used to win Indigenous sea rights.

The exhibition centers around 40 Yirrkala bark paintings from the Saltwater Collection, created by the Yolŋu artists who petitioned for sea rights by painting their Saltwater Countries onto bark, and revealing sacred patterns or designs known as Miny’tji.

It also includes Mokuy (spirit) carvings, Larrakitj (mortuary pole paintings on hollowed trees) and other traditional and contemporary works.

Oral histories, aerial photography and traditional and contemporary Indigenous objects help visitors delve deeper into the stories of the communities who created the paintings, revealing a richer understanding of their connection to sea country.

(Photo: Courtesy of Australian National Maritime Museum)

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