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Dhin-ggay-laa (moonlight)



Andrew Snelgar


14 Apr 1982 –

Language group: Ngemba, Northern Riverine region

  • Details

    Place where the work was made
    Baara (Old Bar) New South Wales Australia
    Media categories
    Woodwork , Sculpture
    Materials used
    carved hardwood (possibly burruuma (mahogany))
    89.0 x 24.0 x 9.0 cm
    Signature & date

    Not signed. Not dated.

    Purchased with funds provided by the Wendy Barron Bequest 2022
    Yiribana Gallery
    Accession number
    © Andrew Snelgar

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Andrew Snelgar

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Andrew Snelgar is widely recognised for his intricate, sculpted, and carved wooden objects. Dhin-ggay-laa (moonlight) 2022 references historical broad shields with their elegant, tapered ends which are connected to the south-east of Australia and often cloaked in an array of designs. These iconic designs empower the shield bearer by representing Country and identifying both regional and clan affiliations. Shields used in performance would often be painted with natural pigments, remnants of which can still be seen on many today.

    Snelgar refers quite directly to this history and his cultural inheritance as a Ngemba man, creating refined shields that evidence ongoing cultural practices and highlight the cultural resurgence currently occurring. Snelgar has provided the language name and details for the story that is attached to the design on this work as Dhin-ggay-laa (moonlight). The wood for this shield was found by Snelgar in a rainforest river after it had split from a tree upstream and subsequently after it had been washed down to its resting place. It was carried two kilometres back to his car, and then made in Snelgar's studio at Baara/Old Bar.

    Of the work, Snelgar commented: "I finished this piece in the light of the full moon, over three nights, and for me the carving represents the light on water. The patterning is representative of an important men's symbol in New South Wales. The way I have inscribed it creates an illusion sometimes, and that is reflected in the work's name." Andrew Snelgar 2022

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition

Other works by Andrew Snelgar