Yawkyawk Spirits

OWEN YALANDJA is a senior member of the Dangkorlo clan, the custodians of an important Yawkyawk site. Yawkyawks are female water spirits, the closest translation to western culture being the mermaid. Yalandja has been carving these
magnificent works since the early 1980?s and learned his art initially from his father, the renowned Crusoe Kuniingbal who invented in the early seventies this type of carving through representing Mimih spirits in sculptural form for use in trade ceremonies. His brother Crusoe Kurdall is an artist of great repute famous for his Mimih and Yawkyawk sculptures.

OWEN YALANDJA has a distinctive style developed over the last twenty years which incorporates dots and V shaped marks which suggest the scales of watery beings. The design is a similar approach in most works but the outcome is unique to each piece due to the shape of the Kurrajong tree used for carving. It may be nearly three metres tall and essentially straight, or one and a half metres high with seemingly impossible distinctive twists and turns. The craftsmanship is exquisite, and particularly in small groups the works have a powerful and yet often whimsical presence. There are twenty-four works in the show.


Yawkyawk Spirits
sculptures, mixed media works
from Maningrida, Arnhem Land
21 April - 22 May 2004

Exhibition features:

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Please note, works in previous exhibitions may no longer be available, please visit our stockroom for available works