earth pigments on stringybark hollow pole
223 x 20 cm
catalogue number: 1690-21
Garrapara is a coastal headland and bay area within Blue Mud Bay. It is known on the maps in English as Djalma Bay. It marks the spot of a sacred burial area for the Dhalwangu clan and a site where dispute was formally settled by Makarrata (a trial of ordeal by spear which settled serious grievance and sealed the peace forever). At Garrapara sacred Casuarina trees held these barbed spears whilst not in use.
Makani the Queenfish hugs the shore almost beaching itself as it attacks schools of baitfish and has actually formed the features of the coastline of Djalma Bay.
During the creation times of the ‘first mornings’ ancestral hunters left the shores of Garrapara in their canoe towards the horizon hunting for turtle. Sacred songs and dance narrate the heroic adventures of these two men as they passed sacred areas, rocks and saw ancestral totems on their way. Their hunting came to grief, with the canoe capsizing and the hunters being drowned. The bodies washed back to the shores of Garrapara with the currents and the tides, as the Wangupini (maternal Thunderhead cumulo- nimbus cloud) followed with its rain and wind. Their canoe with paddle and their totems Makani (Queenfish) and Minyga (Long Tom) and Gärun (Loggerhead Turtle) are all referred to in the songs and landscape.
Garrapara has been rendered by the wavy design for Yirritja saltwater in Blue Mud Bay called Mungurru. The Mungurru is deep water that has many states and connects with the sacred waters coming from the land estates by currents and tidal action. This sacred design shows the water of Djalma Bay chopped up by the blustery South Easterlies of the early Dry season.
The miny’tji (sacred clan design) on this piece identifies the Dhalwaŋu saltwater estate of Garrapara on Blue Mud Bay. Here is the sacred site for the Dhalwaŋu Yiŋapuŋapu, a mortuary based sand sculpture used for the initial rites of the dead. The deceased placed within the Yiŋapuŋapu’s elliptical confines has its own contamination kept at bay.