Galuma Maymuru – Memorial Pole 3278
Artist: Galuma Maymura
Clan: Manalili, Belan group
Memorial Pole size: 297cm high
The miny’tji (sacred clan designs) is Maŋgalili freshwater and talks of Ŋoykal the Kingfish, rotting wood raŋga (sacred object) under the water and the sacred yoku (corms of the water lily) representing the yothu (children) of the Maŋgalili fed on by the Bilthu (Rifle fish). The Ŋoykal: Turrum, carangoides emburyi , Kingfish, enters into freshwater to breed. A strong swimming fish seen seasonally cruising along shore lines are speared by Yolŋu. It is totem for the Maŋgalili clan. It is the journey of this fish (up freshwater rivers to breed) that created important ties with relative clans. Ŋoykal’s travelling included a path from Dhonydji to the Wayawu River, passed through Dhälinbuy, a site where the Wangurri clanspeople have settled. At Wayawuwuy, Ŋoykal changed into the hollow log Milkamirri. The sacred design represents the Yoku or lily corm eaten by Ŋoykal whilst at the Wayawu River. He swims up stream towards the sacred rock Dhukurru from where ancestors once stood to spear the big fish. Ŋoykal people dance, with spear throwers the tail and sacred dilly bag in mouth. The concept of lily bulbs in dillybags has an echo in Maŋgalili children in the womb. Thus the Wayawu is the freshwater source of Maŋgalili souls and an analogy for the Milky Way which is also seen as the reservoir of Maŋgalili souls from which children spring to select their parents. This painting depicts in sacred abstraction the corms of the plant, being washed from the lily beds by the flooding Wayawu. The miny’tji underlying this painting represents the Maŋgalili essence (of Ŋoykal) in this water. The sacred rock Dhukurru has been painted at the top of this work.