Yawk Yawk are female water spirits that closely resemble the European idea of mermaids. Half spirit, half fish, they entice unwary fishermen beneath the water of the lagoons that are their domain throughout Arnhem Land. They may have long hair like reeds of trailing water weed and can take on the features of fish or body of a snake. When fully grown Yawk Yawk spirits can leave their water hole to forage for food by changing their fishtails into legs to walk on dry land or assume the shape of a dragonfly to fly. Yawk Yawk figures are also closely associated with Ngaloyd, the Rainbow Serpent and can be associated with sorcery.
Fabric is by artist June Smith from the Ltyentye Apurte community in the Northern Territory. June has provided consent for this fabric to be used on these mermaids. June Mills, traditional owner of Larrakia Land, provided consent to use the Yawk Yawk in the designing of these mermaids.