Joe Dhamanydji

(Australia 26 May 1960 – )

Milingimbi, Arnhem region
Language group
Gupapuyngu Daygurrgurr, Arnhem region

Balanda crown ga Yolngu crown - Birrkuḏa Galinyin

Not on display
Further information

Joe Dhamanydji is among the leading artists working in Yurrwi (Milingimbi) today. He is widely recognised for his detailed paintings on bark and larrakitj which focus on subjects most important to Gupapuyŋu people. Dhamanydji learnt of these subjects from his father, the renowned artist Tom Djawa, and the Gallery is fortunate to hold works by both artists in the collection. In this work Dhamanydji refers to the moment in 1954 in Toowoomba, Queensland when his father Tom Djawa, met Queen Elizabeth II.

The art centre documentation for the work states:

“To depict this meeting the artist has combined his Guku Galanyin ga waṉ’kurra miny'tji (Gupapuyŋu clan wild honey-bee and bandicoot body paint designs), with the Australian coat of arms and a Balanda (European) crown.

Guku Galanyin ga waṉ’ kurra miny'tji belongs to Gupapuyŋu people of the Yirritja moiety. The Balanda crown appears at the top of the bark, together with the coat of arms. The elongated triangular shapes beneath the coat of arms are Guyuwa or the protruding nose of the native bees’ hive. Dhamanydji also describes the Guyuwa motif as a crown for Yolŋu people. The central diamond pattern in the work is native beeswax or honeycomb. The rärrk (cross-hatching) inside the diamonds symbolises the flowing guku (honey), while the solid yellow block at the base of the work is the dhuḏi dharpa (tree stump), symbolic of the foundational knowledge held by Gupapuyŋu people. The dashes of yellow, black, red and white represent scratching made by, Gupapuyŋu clan totem, waṉ’kurra (bandicoot).”

Place of origin
Milingimbi, Central Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia
Bark painting
natural pigment on bark
125.0 x 50.0 cm
Wendy Baron Bequest 2020
Accession number
© Joe Dhamanydji. Licensed by Copyright Agency