Waterhole at Yikarrakkal


This painting represents a sacred waterhole outside Maningrida.  It is located at a place called Yikarrakkal and is said to be inhabited by Yawkyawk. Yawkyawk are guardians of sacred waterholes and appear as young women with fish tails. Yawkyawk (freshwater mermaid) start out in a tadpole-like form, as they get older they grow 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 as their protector.

The crosshatching pattern used to paint the bark is called rarrk. The incredibly fine lines of ochre are applied using manyilk, which is made from sedge grass, collected on country in Kakadu and West Arnhem Land. 

66 × 21 cm | Acrylic on Bark | Cat. no: 4477-21