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Maree Clarke

Mutti Mutti, Wamba Wamba, Yorta Yorta, Boon Wurrung, south-east Australia

Thung-ung Coorang (Kangaroo Teeth Necklace) 2013

kangaroo teeth, leather, sinew and earth pigment
8 x 130 cm 
Monash University Collection

Ngatha deya-win nhan. Ngatha ngini yenbenan nangarna. Nyanan nangadi-iyung yapaneyepuk.

Ngatha damnanan museum-ung bamungan. Ngatha damnan gabrra nhan.

Ngatha damnanan nangadi-iyung bamunga. Nyanak Maree-n woka-nak yanha. Maree-n yakapna nyanak muman-ina. Ngatha wurta. Nyanak Maree-n woka-nak yanha. Nyanak nilin yakapna mana-n. Deya-win banga dhona nyanan ngata-yenbena.

Lenny-il ngini woka-yin yakan. Da ngini gangaba. Ngatha ngaikun Lenny. Ngatha winyarr, ngala yapaneyepuk graindun. Ngala yapaneyepuk loitjpa nhan.

Ngatha Maree Lenny nhanha gaiyimarran dirran nitel. Ngatha damnanan museum-ung nhanha. Ngatha damnanan nhan gaiyimarr djagoga. Damnak gayiyimarr dirran nhanha bandola ngutan.

Deya-win nangadi-iyung yapaneyepuk. Nyanan banga dhona.

– Yorta Yorta translation by Ebony Joachim

This work reminds me of our ancestors and our connectedness to one another.

The historical items that exist within museums give us a material connection to our ancestors and an opportunity to draw from their knowledge, skills and designs.

I feel connected to this work through the makers. Maree and her family adopted our family when we moved to her country. We moved to her country when I was very young. Her family made us a part of their family, as is our tradition.

Lenny was from my country, a relative, an uncle. I remember Lenny as a friend of my uncles, though we are related by blood and country. As an adult, we worked together in the area of material culture and heritage. We continued to share and teach.

I imagine Maree and Lenny on their travels, collecting kangaroo teeth from roadkill along the way. I see them in the Melbourne Museum examining the old kangaroo necklaces, looking at their construction and counting the number of teeth needed to create the necklace.

Our art is not just about re-creation. It tells a story like this one. It is about connectedness, connection to the past and connection to one another.

– Kerrie Clarke

Ebony Joachim is a Yorta Yorta woman, living in Shepparton, Victoria. Her work with the Resource Network for Linguistic Diversity (RNLD) involves travelling, with her team, to many communities across Australia and delivering training that supports their language workers. Her passion for language was kindled by her mentor and teacher, Aretha Briggs, who she worked with while teaching Yorta Yorta at a local Shepparton primary school.

Kerrie Clarke is a Gunai and Monero woman, from south-east Australia. She is an artist and has worked as a curator and educator in a number of museums and cultural centres. Kerrie was a senior curator and collection manager at Koorie Heritage Trust over an extended period. She currently works for the Department of Education in Horsham, in the western district of Victoria and is a mother to four beautiful children.


This project has been assisted by the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund.