76.8 x 36.2cm
Goanna Totem. Male and Female are depicted, the females having eggs connected together. Separating line in the middle is a layer of rock. At a time of great drought the goanna people tried to find water. They dug and dug down through the rocks until finally they were stopped by the rock shown in the painting. They turned to stone and their remains can be seen in the shape of a mountain at Arnhem Bay. The mountain still looks like a goanna.
The painting is used in an increase ceremony and as a teaching aid.
[Information supplied by the Methodist Overseas Mission, Milingimbi]
© Australian Art Department, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2005
Frederick D. McCarthy, Australian Aboriginal art: bark paintings, carved figures, sacred and secular objects: an exhibition arranged by the State art galleries of Australia, 1960-1961, 'Introduction', pg. 7-17, Sydney, 1960, 18 (illus.), 24. cat.no. 46; plate no. 18
Charles P Mountford (Editor), Records of the American-Australian scientific expedition to Arnhem Land 1: Art, myth and symbolism, Melbourne, 1956, (illus.). plate no. 118 'B'
Australian Aboriginal art: bark paintings, carved figures, sacred and secular objects: an exhibition arranged by the State art galleries of Australia, 1960-1961: