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Collection

Unknown

(Australia  – )

Title
The dugong
Place of origin
Groote EylandtNorthern TerritoryAustralia
Year
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
Location
Yiribana Gallery
Further information

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]

Bibliography (5)

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, Newtown, Aug 2009, 40 (colour illus.). Membership events section.

Exhibition history (3)

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

Mountford Gifts: Works from the American Australian scientific expedition to Arnhem Land 1948, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 21 Mar 2009–03 Jun 2009

Our spirits lie in the water, 15 Nov 2014–01 Nov 2015