Djalkiri: Yolnu Art, Collaborations and Collections

Djalkiri: Yolnu Art, Collaborations and Collections
Format
Paperback
Publisher
Sydney University Press
Country
Australia
Published
1 March 2021
Pages
340
ISBN
9781743327272

Djalkiri: Yolnu Art, Collaborations and Collections

Longlisted for the 2021 NSW Premier’s History Awards for Australian History

The patterns and designs were laid down on the country and in the minds of Yolnu by the ancestral beings at the time of creation. They have been passed on through the generations from our great grandparents, to our grandparents, to our parents, to us. They are the reality of this country. They tell us all who we are. - Djambawa Marawili AM

Djalkiri are footprints - ancestral imprints on the landscape that provide the Yolnu people of eastern Arnhem Land with their philosophical foundations.

This book describes how Yolnu artists and communities keep these foundations strong, and how they have worked with museums to develop a collaborative, community-led approach to the collection and display of their artwork. It includes contributions from Yolnu elders and artists as well as Indigenous and non-Indigenous historians and curators. Together they explore how the relationship between communities and museums has changed over time.

From the early 20th century, anthropologists and other collectors acquired artworks and objects and took photographs in Arnhem Land that became part of collections at the University of Sydney. Later generations of Yolnu have sought out these materials and, with museum curators, proposed a new type of relationship, based on a deeper respect for Yolnu intellectual frameworks and a commitment to their central role in curation. This book tells some of their stories.

Featuring over 300 colour images, Djalkiri is published in conjunction with a largescale exhibition of Yolnu art and culture at the University of Sydney’s new Chau Chak Wing Museum, opening in November 2020. Spanning almost 100 years of our shared history, these collections can expand our understanding of the past and help us to shape the future.

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