Jakarda Wuka (Too Many Stories)

li-Yanyuwa li-Wirdiwalangu et al.

“…ngabaya painted all this, you know when we were kids we would come here and look and sometimes the paintings would change, they were always changing.” Annie a-Karrakayny

Fully illustrated, Jakarda Wuka (Too Many Stories) draws on a combined 70+ years of collaborative research involving Yanyuwa Elders, anthropologists, and an archaeologist to tell a unique story about the rock art from Yanyuwa Country in northern Australia’s southwest Gulf of Carpentaria.

Australia’s rock art is recognised globally for its antiquity, abundance, distinctive motifs and the deep and abiding knowledge Indigenous people continue to hold for these powerful symbols. However, books about Australian rock art jointly written by Indigenous communities, anthropologists, and archaeologists are extremely rare.

Combining Yanyuwa and western knowledge, the authors embark on a journey to reveal the true meaning of Yanyuwa rock art. At the heart of this book is the understanding that a painting is not just a painting, nor is it an isolated phenomenon or a static representation. What underpins Yanyuwa perceptions of their rock art is kinship, because people are kin to everything and everywhere on Country.

Jakarda Wuka highlights the multidimensional nature of Yanyuwa rock art: it is an active social agent in the landscape, capable of changing according to different circumstances and events, connected to the epic travels and songs of Ancestral Beings (Dreamings), and related to various aspects of Yanyuwa life such as ceremony, health and wellbeing, identity, and narratives concerning past and present-day events.

In a time where Indigenous communities, archaeologists, and anthropologists are seeking new ways to work together and better engage with Indigenous knowledges to interpret the “archaeological record”, Jakarda Wuka delivers a masterful and profound narrative of Yanyuwa Country and its rock art.

This project was supported by the Australian Research Council and the McArthur River Mine Community Benefits Trust.

This book allows the reader to enter into a way of seeing and understanding rock art as presence in the landscape, also reflecting and participating in the transference of knowledge across the generations.

- Professor Howard Morphy

Paperback & ebook

li-Yanyuwa li-Wirdiwalangu et al.

li-Yanyuwa li-Wirdiwalangu (Yanyuwa Elders) are an Aboriginal Australian people who live in the coastal region inclusive of and opposite to the Sir Edward Pellew Group of Islands. Liam M. Brady, Flinders University. John Bradley, Monash University. Amanda Kearney, University of Melbourne.

Sydney University Press

Sydney University Press is a not-for-profit, scholarly publisher of research-based books that engage, inspire and stimulate debate. We believe in the value of research, and the power of books to change the world. Our mission is to enable, support and facilitate the sharing of outstanding research.

Jakarda Wuka (Too Many Stories)
World ex ANZ
Susan Murray