James Gaykamangu

James_Gaykamangu_Larrakia_Nation_Aboriginal_CorpBorn in 1947, James Gaykamangu is a Yolgnu man from Milingimbi, East Arnhemland. His areas of expertise include:

  • Cultural knowledge speaker
  • Exhibiting artist

Cultural Knowledge James is a qualified teacher and interpreter, he is fluent in 17 Aboriginal languages as well as English. He has worked as a field officer for the Northern Land Council and as a community adviser. In 2003 he graduated from College with a Diploma in Management and Administration. He now works as a legal and medical interpreter at Royal Darwin Hospital, Darwin Magistrates Court and Supreme Court, Prisons and Police interviews for North-East Arnhemland people.

AutobiographyJames-Gaykamangu_book James’ cultural learning journey is shared in his engaging book ‘Striving to Bridge the Chasm’, written with the assistance of Penny Taylor as a Larrakia Nation project. Available for sale at our pop-up exhibitions and through our online store.

Visual Art  His paintbrush is made of strands of hair tied to a small twig. The thickness of the lines and the way they are applied are very important – besides Skin, they tell the clan and country of the artist. Only the four ochre colours are used:

  • Yellow for the sun
  • Red for the blood of mother earth (“She bleeds for you when you are born and when you die”)
  • White is used for body designs in ceremony
  • Black has secret meanings but is also the charcoal rubbed into cuts to create Cicatrice (raised scars) for tribal markings
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