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Harvesting yams in Yolηu country photo essay

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Harvesting yams in Yolηu country photo essay

20 Oct 2017

By Lily Withycombe and Andy Greenslade

The upcoming Midawarr | Harvest exhibition at the National Museum explores the plants of Yolŋu country in north-east Arnhem Land based on works by artists Mulkun Wirrpanda and John Wolseley.

Mulkun and her family introduced us to one of these plants – the ganguri or long yam – during a visit on country. This photo essay draws on Yolŋu cultural knowledge and western botanical information.

We are grateful to Mulkun Wirrpanda, Merrkiyawuy Ganambarr-Stubbs and Nyalung Munungurr for sharing their knowledge, skills, and food with us. The quotes in the images below are from Merrkiyawuy Ganambarr-Stubbs.

  • Hands displaying tubers
  • A group of people fossicking through bushland
  • A group of women fossicking through bushland
  • Two people inspecting tubers
  • A group of people fossicking through bushland
  • Unidentified person digging a hole in the ground
  • One woman standing and one woman sitting on the ground in bushland
  • Three women sitting on the ground inbetween a fire and a large piece of bark displaying a pile of tubers
  • An unidentified person wielding a stick above a row of tubers sitting on top of  piece of bark
  • A hand displaying tubers
  • Bushland
  • A woman sitting and a man lying beside artworks

Mulkun and John have met at midawarr and other times in the past five years to research and document the many useful and delicious plants which, for centuries, have sustained communities in this unique part of the continent.

Their collaboration resulted in the body of artworks going on show in Midawarr | Harvest, at the National Museum in Canberra from 24 November 2017.

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