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Tom Djawa

(Australia 1905 – 1980)

Language group
Gupapuyngu, Arnhem region
Untitled (The High Totem - Birrkulda Ceremony)
Place of origin
MilingimbiCentral Arnhem LandNorthern TerritoryAustralia
Cultural origin
circa 1960
Media category
Bark painting
Materials used
natural pigments on bark

157.0 x 65.0 cm

Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Purchased with funds provided by the Aboriginal Collection Benefactors' Group 2013
Accession number
© Tom Djawa/Bula'bula Arts. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney
Not on display
Further information

Tom Djawa was a senior leader of the Gupapuyngu clan and was among the group of artists, including Binyinyuwuy and Lipundja, working at Milingimbi from the late 1940s. These artists were actively painting their culture with the support of the mission, producing small jewel like bark paintings and some sculptural forms.
'Untitled (The High Totem - Birrkulda Ceremony)' is a unique work by Djawa, distinguished by it's larger scale and complex composition. The works refers to the Birrkulda (honey) ceremony, with the figures and objects seen in the work adorned with the diamond design synonymous with Birrkulda. The diamond cross-hatching depict the cells of the honey comb, and the cross hatching the wax.