Gapu-Monuk Saltwater—Journey to Sea Country
Australian National Maritime Museum
Celebrating the Yolŋu’s powerful story of Sea Rights
For Yolŋu people, their land and sea are marked by sacred places. In 1996 an illegal barramundi fishing camp was discovered at Garraŋali, the sacred home of Bäru the Ancestral Crocodile. Among the rubbish scattered there was the severed head of a crocodile. Disgusted at the repeated invasion and the sacrilege of beheading Bäru, Yolŋu elders decided to use sacred art to explain their lore and law to outsiders. A suite of powerful paintings, each revealing previously secret spiritual knowledge, were the result. Some of which served as legal deeds in the court case that saw the Yolŋu win back their land.
The Australian National Maritime Museum’s exhibition Gapu-Monuk Saltwater—Journey to Sea Country is an acknowledgement of the significant story of the Yolŋu people of northeast Arnhem Land and their fight for recognition of Indigenous Sea Rights in the Blue Mud Bay Legal Case 1998–2008.
In celebration, Carbon Creative was commissioned to design the marketing identity, complimenting the brandmark that had been developed by Black and White Creative.
Taking a story-led approach, Bäru, the Ancestral Crocodile was shaped into the shoreline where the land meets the water in beautiful Yilpara.
In addition, Carbon travelled on to country, where we filmed a promotional video and photographed intimate portraits of Djambawa Marawili, one of the Yolŋu Elders responsible for the incredible bark paintings.