The concept for this project came about in 2009, during the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin with its evolutionary focus on relationships between animal species. Charles Darwin demonstrated that all species of life have evolved from common ancestors. His evolutionary theory of natural selection forms the foundation of modern biology and an explanation for Western understandings of the diversity of life. The Yithuwa Madarrpa people have a different perception. Yolngu belief and knowledge is contained within songs, stories, ritual and art. Paintings are conceptual maps depicting living things and earthly elements. All have meaning and are based on complex structures of knowledge and relationships. This is expressed through the Djalkiri, literally meaning foot or footprints, but when applied to Yolngu law it takes on a more profound meaning referring to the underlying ‘foundation of the world’. The objective of this project was to bring a group of artists, scientists and print makers together in a cross-cultural, cross-disciplinary, creative exchange. To juxtapose Western scientific view-points and knowledge with the holistic perspective of Yolngu people.
The title, Djalkiri: We are standing on their names, Blue Mud Bay are words spoken by Djambawa Marawili. It is an acknowledgement of cultural inheritance based on understanding and mutual respect. It is about walking together in the footsteps of the ancestors. Angus Cameron 2010, Nomad Art Productions Download a PDF Catalogue of the Folio (2.4MB) >>
This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through National Science Week, the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body and the Northern Territory Government through the Department of Natural Resources, Environment and the Arts and the Research and Innovation Board & Fund. We thank the following organisations for their generous support, The Gordon Darling Foundation, The Research School of Humanities and the Arts, ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences, The Myer Foundation and Artback NT.
The Replant National tour is proudly facilitated by Artback NT: Arts Development and Touring.
On behalf of the participants we acknowledge the Yithuwa Madarrpa Traditional Owners of the Baniyala region. Congratulations to the artists for their enthusiastic participation in this project. Thank you to Djambawa Marawili and the people of Baniyala for hosting the group, Glenn Wightman for his bush knowledge and guidance, Professor Howard Morphy for his enthusiasm, knowledge and support, Will Stubbs, Dianne and Andrew Blake for opening the door to an extraordinary experience and their invaluable advice and facilitation, Basil Hall and Mats Unden for never ending patience, facilitating the workshops, proofing and editioning the prints and to Peter Eve for producing beautiful photographs and designing the catalogue.
Introduction by Djambawa Marawili AM: Download
Making Art Work Together on Blue Mud Bay by Professor Howard Morphy: Download
Ancestral Figure by Will Stubbs: Download
Djalkiri Magic by Glenn Wightman: Download
The Djalkiri Education Kit is a downloadable resource available online as PDF files to print as required. The Education Kit has been designed for students from upper primary to year 12 to appreciate and enjoy the Djalkiri exhibition. The Education Kit presents pre and post visit activities and information appropriate to specific age levels, experience and abilities and can be developed as a unit of work.
The Djalkiri Education Kit provides a range of enjoyable learning activities and background information for teachers. Activities and information can be downloaded in the following sections:
Background to the project, people and place
- Pre-visit activities
- Post-visit activities
Upper Primary / Secondary:
- Visiting the exhibition
- Visiting the exhibition