Artist: Mavis Timothy
Yarriwin and Wiyninyngmarr (White Gum and Ant Hills) – 2020
Paintings – Acrylic on Canvas – 61 x 61 cm
You can find Yarriwin, ant hills right across our Country. There’s lots of different sorts. They are important for Aboriginal people. You can get wax out of some of them. You mix the wax from the Yarriwin with grasses and burn it to keep the mosquitoes away.One kind we use like a medicine. The grey Yarriwin, old people used break it up to grind it up and mix it was water to make a mud. We used this to rub all over our kids’ bodies to make them strong.
Yarriwin are good things when you are camping and have to stop water from running in to your camp. If you make a barrier to stop the water with black or red soil, it doesn’t take long for the water to seep through and flood the camp. But when you smash up the Yarriwin and pack it down to make a barrier the water can’t get through.
Around Borroloola, we also use the Yarriwin to build up rough ground to make it smooth to sleep on. When you smash the Yarriwin up and pack it down, its dries like concrete and is great for laying your swag on. Some Yarriwin , got sugar bag (the native honey bee) living in them. The sugar bag builds its hive inside the Yarriwin and makes honey. When women go hunting they always got their eye out for the sign of sugar bag in the Yarriwin . Sometimes you can see the honey dripping out the side.