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Collection

Munggurrawuy Yunupingu

(Australia circa 1907 – 12 Apr 1979)

Language group
Gumatj, Arnhem region

Bununggu

(Australia circa 1917 – 1974)

Language group
Gumatj, Arnhem region
Title
Lany'tjung story no. 1
Other titles:
Lany'tjung story, myth no 1 Laindjung stroy, myth no 1
Place of origin
YirrkalaNorth-east Arnhem LandNorthern TerritoryAustralia
Year
1959
Media category
Bark painting
Materials used
natural pigments on bark
Dimensions

153.7 x 38.1 cm

Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Credit
Gift of Dr Stuart Scougall 1959
Accession number
IA60.1959
Location
Not on display
Further information

top: A Yirritja Ngärra ceremony was held near Caledon Bay. Three brothers and their two sisters were dancing when they called out the sacred name for fire. A fire, already burning, grew. One of the sisters tried to stop the fire but it spread. A vertical diamond pattern depicting wood divides the panel into two parts. The Yirritja diamond-patterned cross-hatching on the left represents the fire - black being ashes and red the glow of the fire. Dots in the horizontal bands at the top represent sparks while those in the lower bands represent flames. On the right are depicted the bones and ashes of the people burnt. One of the sisters is shown in a sacred shade surrounded by smoke.

upper: The diamond pattern between the fire and the bandicoot is Munggurrawuy's Dreaming.

lower: The ancestral Bandicoot is seen surrounded by grass and entering a hollow log to save itself from the fire. The dots are the bandicoot's footprints.

bottom: The division between these panels represents the bank of a billabong and the watermark. Baru the crocodile is depicted in a billabong, the area of cross-hatching surrounding the crocodile is its nest, and the remaining cross-hatching represents räkay (eleocharis dulci), a highly nutritious species of lily. Dots represent bubbles from the crocodile as it dives under water.

© Information provided by the artist

Australian Art Department, AGNSW, 2000

Bibliography (3)

Peter Gotting, The Sydney Morning Herald, 'To great and absent friends', pg. 14, Sydney, 01 Aug 2000, 14 (illus.). see Curator's worksheet for copy

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, 28. cat.no. 72

Howard Morphy, One sun one moon: Aboriginal art in Australia, ‘Making the familiar unfamiliar: The aesthetics of Eastern Arnhem Land art’, pg. 73-77, Sydney, 2007, 77 (colour illus.).

Exhibition history (5)

Australian Aboriginal art: bark paintings, carved figures, sacred and secular objects: an exhibition arranged by the State art galleries of Australia, 1960-1961:

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

Australian icons: twenty artists from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 04 Aug 2000–03 Dec 2000

One sun, one moon, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 03 Jul 2007–02 Dec 2007

The Dreamers (2009-10), Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 09 May 2009–15 Aug 2010