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Title

The dugong


Artist

Unknown

Australia


About

Adjira-madja is an increase centre for dugongs….The dugong, a sea mammal, has come to the surface to breathe. When the Aboriginal people see the creature submerge, they paddle to that place and sing the magical chant which exhorts it to return to the surface at the same spot. If the dugong obeys the chant, it is killed.

[The dugong] is the painting of the dugong, the flesh of which is a favourite food of the Aboriginal people. The conventionalised designs on the body represent the skin markings of the animal.

[Charles P. Mountford, 'Records of the American-Australian scientific expedition to Arnhem Land vol.1: Art, myth and symbolism', pg. 67]


Details


Place where the work was made

Groote Eylandt Northern Territory Australia


Date

1948


Media category

Bark painting


Materials used

natural pigments on bark


Dimensions

35.6 x 63.5 cm


Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.


Credit

Gift of the Commonwealth Government 1956


Accession number

9263


Artist information

Unknown

Works in the collection

514


Place

Where the work was made
Groote Eylandt

Shown in 3 exhibitions

Exhibition history


Referenced in 5 publications

Bibliography


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, 13 (colour illus.).

Jonathan Jones, Mountford Gifts: Works from the American-Australian scientific expedition to Arnhem Land 1948, 'Mountford Gifts: Works from the American-Australian scientific expedition to Arnhem Land 1948', pg. 1-5, Sydney, 2009, 3, 4.

Charles P Mountford (Editor), Records of the American-Australian scientific expedition to Arnhem Land 1: Art, myth and symbolism, Melbourne, 1956, 67 (illus.). plate no. 20D

National Art Gallery of New South Wales, Purchases and Acquisitions for 1956 National Art Gallery of N.S.W., Sydney, 1956, 21. cat.no. 21; titled 'The Dugong'

Jill Sykes (Editor), Look, Sydney, Aug 2009, 40 (colour illus.). Membership events section.