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Margaret Rarru Garrawurra and Helen Ganalmirriwuy Garrawurra
Various works

Creation date: 2020–2021 Location: Gallery 12
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Margaret Rarru Garrawurra, Ḻiyagawumirr-Garrawurra people, Mol Miṉḏirr, 2020/2021; and Helen Ganalmirriwuy Garrawurra, Ḻiyagawumirr-Garrawurra people, Gurrumaṯtji, 2021, Mol Miṉḏirr, 2021, commissioned by the National Gallery of Australia, Kamberri/Canberra for the 4th National Indigenous Art Triennial: Ceremony with the support of Rupert Myer AO and Annabel Myer through the Aranday Foundation. Purchased 2022.

Artists Margaret Rarru Garrawurra and Helen Ganalmirriwuy Garrawurra on their work in Ceremony

So my country is at Gärriyak, and my mother country is here, Milingimbi. Yes. This place is my mother land. I paint. I also go collecting pandanus.

I worked, making a basket. A sacred basket. And the black colour, the black colour is not for everyone. That colour just belongs to me. As custodian for my mother’s clan, I made their basket. Ŋärra law, and women’s law.

My mother [Mamiyan] taught me and my father taught me this work. I watched how to make dhomala when I was a kid. I watched them work. Then I got it. I grew up, then I started. I painted, I wove, mats and baskets, dillybags, with black, red and yellow colours. That’s what I did.

When I started working, I was using pandanus, and then I was thinking, maybe I’ll make them black. I was thinking of black. Then I started weaving, baskets, dillybags, mats. And the black colour, the black colour is not for everyone. That’s just for me.

I thought that up in my head. Then I started weaving, and then Balanda and Yolŋu saw it. They were surprised. That colour belongs to me.

— Margaret Rarru Garrawurra, 2021

This is a miṉḏirr. This is my grandmother (mother’s mother). I make these, and my sister makes them—Margaret Rarru. The leaves we collected—we put those into water. This one [mol or black miṉḏirr], this is a new idea. This is a new idea of ours, of mine and my sisters’. What we do is we gather these leaves, then we put them in water with pandanus, and it goes black. The pandanus goes black, inside, in the water. [Everything in] the drum goes black. Then we weave it. And this is the colour. This is a new innovation.

— Helen Ganalmirriwuy Garrawurra, 2020