Yawkyawk (Water Spirit)

Acrylic Paint
31cm (W) x 41cm (H) x 0.2cm (D)
By Thommo Nganjmirra Featured

Gunbalanya, NT, Australia

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Thommo has painted two Yawkyawk. Yawkyawk is the Kunwinjku term used for young women but also for female water spirits that have fishtails as shown in this work. Sometimes they are described as‘mermaids’ who live in trees and water in special places in West Arnhem Land.
Yawkyawk start out in a tadpole-like form, as they get older they grow fish tails and spend most of their time in the water but are able to sit on the banks of billabongs. When fully grown they are able to change their tails into legs and walk on land to forage for food. They also change into dragonflies at the end of the wet season, which signifies to the bininj (aboriginal people) the rains have finished. Yawkyawk are said to have namarnkol (barramundi) as pets and that Ngalyod the Rainbow Serpent serves as their protector. These spirits are guardians of sacred waterholes.

This painting needs to be framed or stretched. It’s also being sent direct from the artist at a remote art centre, Injalak Arts, in West Arnhemland, in the NT. Please note there is only one mail plane a week that takes the artwork to Gunbalanya. The tracking information is then received a week later when the mail plane returns so often the paintings are delivered before we receive the tracking information. Please expect a slightly longer wait for this very special artwork to arrive.