ART STORY: Yawiny (Stingray) & Wongai (Wattle Tree)
My design is about making a spear from Wongai (wattle). We use the spear to catch fish, crab, and yawiny (stingray). Yawiny is good mayi (food). The Bardi words on the design ‘Moorrodoo irrol aarli ngan’ means ‘small wood from tree makes good spear for seafood hunting.’ ‘Ngan’ means food, ‘aarli ngan’ means ‘fish for food’.
Trees are everything to us: they help keep our local knowledge strong. When the Wongai blooms yellow flowers, we know stingrays are rich and ready for hunting. It’s hot when you go hunting for stingray, usually after the big wet (March / April).
I like to go hunting for yawiny with my grandfather; we go by boat to the reef, or down at the beach when the tide’s coming in or going out. We cook yawiny on the fire. We take the fat out, then we heat the meat up on the fire in a pan until it’s brownish - careful not to burn it; then we mix it together with the fat. Serve it with damper on the side! It tastes nice and chewy, sticky, it’s its own type of flavour. Has a salty taste.