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Djambawa Marawili: Rock of the Fire

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SKU: DVD-1250
size: 13.70cm W × 19.10cm H × 1.40cm D
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'It's in my mind, not only in my heart, it is in my soul. It won't run away from me. I live with it until I die.'

In this film, we join the great Yolngu leader and artist Djambawa Marawili in his homeland of Baniyala in East Arnhem Land.

As the family hunt for fish and crabs by the old crabbers camp on Blue Mud Bay, Joshua gathers up his catch while Djambawa looks for crabs and stingrays. This is a fleeting moment of relaxation for Djambawa and his family, his work as an artist, running the community, conducting ceremonies, chairing arts boards and the school, dealing with politicians from far away, all these things mean his working day is very long and often hard.

Ever vigilant over his land, always looking, always knowing what is going on, there were native title and sea rights to reclaim and defend, Djambawa has fought long and hard to reclaim the sea for his people.

A masterpiece of international art, the Yirrkala church panels painted in the early 1960s, were the first significant land rights statement by Yolngu people. There were to be many more.

In such a way and many years later, did Djambawa and a generation of elders express a statement of knowledge, law and ownership by creating 80 bark paintings to oppose intrusions into their lands. Today these masterpieces of art are kept in the collection of the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney.

At last victory came, in July 2008 the High Court of Australia confirmed that the traditional owners of Blue Mud Bay have exclusive rights to tidal waters overlying Aboriginal Land. The ruling was to extend far beyond Blue Mud Bay.

Yolngu law in Yolngu lands triumphant once again. The fight for rights continues.

Running time: 60 mins

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