Rihya Dank is a Gudanji/Wakaja woman that grew up in a remote community in the Northern Territory with English/Irish and Spanish heritage. Being raised in the Gulf of Carpentaria provided Ryhia with plenty of opportunities to learn about her country through stories shared by family. She spent time living in Melbourne working in the marketing industry before moving back to Darwin to wait out the pandemic, where she picked up painting.
Dank’s painting is storywork. Gudanji/Wakaja people use to tell stories through pattern and design which is what she is emulating. She calls her storytelling Nardurna, meaning ‘woman’ in her language. For Gudanji, their big story is about three women who came from the ocean near Ngukurr in the Gulf of Carpentaria. They travelled a long way and then created their place, the hills and fresh water Country. Ryhia feels linked to this story.
About the Artwork
The Magenta post is about people sitting around the campfire talking and eating, symbolising the surrounding area, people coming together enjoying the amazing food and great atmosphere.
The Orange one is about the Wet Season.
This symbolises Darwin at the start of the Wet Season, the dry land soaking up the first bit of rain until the waterholes and rivers start flowing.
The cream one is about the Darwin markets.
The Baskets and Coolamons symbolise the gathering of great products and food that’s available at the many markets.
The Blue one is about the shoreline of Darwin.
This symbolises the mangroves that are on Darwin’s shoreline. Mangroves help with a number of things that keep Darwin’s waterways pristine.
The Pink one is about sea life.
This pillar symbolises the abundant sea life that Darwin has to offer.
The Brown one this about Darwin’s Bush tucker.
This symbolises the Billygoat plum (my family calls it this) another name is Green plum or its more commonly known as the Kakadu plum.
The Yellow one is about Darwin’s tides.
This pillar symbolises the sun and the moon that gives Darwin its amazing king tides and the extremely low tides. Also my acknowledgement to the Larrakia people who are the Traditional custodians of the Darwin region.