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An image of Cat and crow legend by Dawidi Djulwarak

Dawidi Djulwarak

(Australia 1921 – 1970)

Language group
Liyagalawumirr, Arnhem region
Cat and crow legend
Place of origin
Glyde RiverCentral Arnhem LandNorthern TerritoryAustralia
collected 1960
Media category
Bark painting
Materials used
natural pigments on bark

105.4 x 47.0 cm

Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Gift of Dr Stuart Scougall 1960
Accession number
© Estate of Dawidi Djulwarak/Bula'bula Arts. Licensed by Aboriginal Artists Agency Ltd
Not on display
Further information

The crows took some hair which is part of the tassel of the spear thrower (shown vertically left of centre) and whirled it. This was their nest. It grew and grew until it reached the sky and turned into a stone. Today one half of it stands in Liayagalawumirr clan country and the other half is the Milky Way. The Cat was out fishing. He caught a great many fish and after he had eaten them he put the bones in a paper bark receptacle (shown upper right) and came back to camp. When he got there he saw the Crow up in the sky. You can see them in the Milky Way today. The paper bark basket is a garma (totem) for the Liagalawumirr people (source: William Lloyd Warner, 'A black civilization: a social study of an Australian tribe', Harper, 1958, pg. 535).

Besides cats, crows, fish, bones, basket and spear thrower, a drone pipe or bones post and three figures, two of them being speared, are shown.

© Australian Art Department, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2005

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, 41 (colour illus.).

William Lloyd Warner, A black civilization: a social study of an Australian tribe, Australia, 1958. General reference to the cat and crow legend.

Exhibition history (2)

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

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