Larrakitj, Hollow Log
Larrakitj (memorial poles) – are hollow coffins created to hold the bones of the dead in secondary burial. Placed in groups on significant sites and painted with clan symbols, they were left to deteriorate with wind and weather.
Contemporary Yolngu artists continue the tradition of painting onto hollow logs, albeit now with the market in mind as well as continuing the tradition.
Art is used by the Yolngu people in ceremonial performances, but also as legal documents and as a way to map the landscape and the relationships between people.
Artists work is usually an exploration into traditional forms with deep connections to clan, territory and ancestral stories.
They are not an ordinary hollow log they have the name, Larrakitj. Clans can sing, dance and even mourn for these dead bones. Now we make them to show our art.
The design on this Larrakitj is the Dhuwa moiety honey design and represents the Gadayka (Stringybark) tree and shows the bee hives inside the tree. This is a Wagilak clan painting.