Djomi Egg by Joy Garlbin

Djomi Egg

This design depicts the story of the artist’s ancestral dreaming, the Djomi freshwater spirit mermaid.

The Djomi figure is a mermaid like spirit with fish tail that lives in the freshwater stream that flows out to the sea cliff near Maningrida. Djomi is a known to be a very powerful fertility symbol.

‘There is a swamp by the ocean, near my home, where all the Djomi live and come to lay their eggs, they lay them here to grow more and more Djomi. When the wet season comes, the cyclones, storms, and big rain, brings enough water for the Djomi to swim out and into the water ways surrounding Maningrida.

Anyone wanting to have a baby can go to that place and Djomi will give them a baby. This is a real story; we have lots of Djomi babies here in Maningrida.

When the big rains of wet season are too strong, Djomi swim up into the pipes to hide and keep safe. Sometimes they will keep swimming further up the pipes and into pipes of people’s homes, they can travel everywhere. The Djomi carries human babies with them and will sometimes put babies into the water that people in Maningrida drink, that’s why we see many young women expecting babies.’ – Joy Garlbin 2023