Yawkyawk (Water Spirit)
Yawkyawk is the Kunwinjku word for young women but also for female water spirits. They are ‘freshwater mermaids’ who live in special waterholes in West Arnhem Land. Yawkyawk start out in a tadpole-like form, as they get older they grow fish 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. They change into dragonflies at the end of the wet season, which signifies to bininj (Aboriginal People) the rains have finished. Yawkyawk are said to have namarnkol (barramundi) as pets and Ngalyod (Rainbow Serpent) is their protector. YawkYawk are guardians of sacred waterholes. Doreen has woven a beautiful Yawkyawk out of pandanus leaves dyed with natural pigments, the vibrant colours hint at Yawkyawk’s connection to Ngalyod. The knotted texture of the figure suggests fish scales as well as ripples on the water.
145cm x 40cmFibre