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Birrikidji Gumana

(Australia circa 1898 – 12 Apr 1982)

Language group
Dhalwangu, Arnhem region
Lany'tjung & Barama proclaim the Sacred Law
Other titles:
Laintjun and Barama
Place of origin
YirrkalaNorth-east Arnhem LandNorthern TerritoryAustralia
Media category
Bark painting
Materials used
natural pigments on bark

84.0 x 35.0 cm

Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Gift of Harry Messel 1989
Accession number
Not on display
Further information

An ancestral spirit, Laintjun and his son, Barama, emerged from a sacred waterhole and proclaimed many ceremonial secrets to the first Aboriginal people of the world, including the diamond pattern body design, which represents the water of the sacred well. Here we see Laintjun and Barama explaining how to carve certain high-secret wooden symbols depicting the fresh water snake and fresh water turtle. Instead of the actual symbol the artist has here depicted the creatures they represent. The sacred diamond pattern is shown and at the top of the painting we see two water birds chasing a fresh water crayfish in the sacred billabong.

Harry Messel

Bibliography (1)

Edmund Capon, Steven Miller, Tony Tuckson, James Scougall, Mollie Gowing, Harry Messel, Craig Brush, Ronald Fine, Alison Fine, Gordon Davies, Rosalind Davies, Christopher Hodges, Helen Eager, Rosemary Gow, Sandra Phillips, Daphne Wallace and Ken Watson, Gamarada, Sydney, 1996, 55 (colour illus.).

Exhibition history (1)

Gamarada, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 15 Nov 1996–16 Feb 1997