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Nanyin Maymuru

(Australia circa 1914 – 1969)

Language group
Manggalili, Arnhem region
Sacred dance ground of the Mungalili (Manggalilji) group
Place of origin
North-east Arnhem LandNorthern TerritoryAustralia
circa 1960
Media category
Bark painting
Materials used
natural pigments on bark

130.3 x 53.3 cm

Gift of Dr Stuart Scougall 1960
Accession number
Not on display
Further information

Artist/origin: Mungalili (Manggalilji) group, Brailung (Burilung?) clan, jiridja moiety, mainland near Groote Eylandt, Yirrkala, Arnhem Land

Six men came across the sea in two canoes, catching a great number of fish. On arriving at land they cooked and ate the fish and then declared the area should be a sacred dance ground of the group. Two huts on either side were made to house men to guard the sacred place. Four scrub turkeys and four cormorants, types of birds which often visit the site, are shown. In the lower section is a ceremony taking place.

The painting also tells the story of Bamapana, the legendary trickster hero who commited asocial acts. In this case, he has killed a girl, his gurrong, and hung her up in a tree (shown lower right).

Bibliography (2)

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, 36 (colour illus.).

Emily Joyce Evans and Falk Wolf, Remembering forward: Australian Aboriginal painting since 1960, 'Bark paintings', pg. 102-123, Cologne, 2010, 110 (colour illus.). 50

Exhibition history (2)

Purchases and Acquisitions for 1960, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 22 Mar 1961–23 Apr 1961

Remembering Forward: An Exhibition of Major Australian Indigenous Artists, Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany, 20 Nov 2010–20 Mar 2011