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Contemporary art

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art

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Borrorr - Hairbelt Ilma



Roy Wiggan


1930 - 2016

Language group

Bardi, Kimberley region


Ilma describe both the object and the ceremony performed by Bardi people. Roy Wiggan received the stories embedded in his Ilma’s from his father, after his passing, through a series of dreams. Wiggan’s Ilma predominately revolve around life at sea experienced by his father, Henry Wiggan, a Bardi man of the Kimberly region who skippered the Sunday Island Mission lugger. His adventures and misadventures in the Indian Ocean inform the Ilma that are used as dance apparel in the ceremonies associated with the stories, as well as being works of art. The Bardi seafaring peoples’ homeland includes one of nature’s phenomenon, the Buccaneer Archipelago, a marine environment abundant in treacherous tides, rips, whirlpools and overfalls of which, a number of Wiggan’s works reference. The stories that were given to him aid in understanding the landscape and Bardi Ngarrangkarni (lore and culture passed down from the ancestors).
The art centre documentation for this work states:
'This set of 2 ilma represent a hair belt, this is part of a story about Little Wiggan (Roys father) who was washed up on a sandbar off Cape Leveque in Western Australia, he trod on the hair belt it was a sign. The song for this says "I'm treading on the sand bar, the wind is getting stronger from the west it is thundering underneath"


Place where the work was made

West Kimberley Western Australia Australia



Media category


Materials used

acrylic on plywood, cotton wool


dimesnsions variable :

a - Ilma 1, 58.5 x 59 cm, (irreg.)

b - Ilma 2, 58 x 57 cm, (irreg.)

Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.


Mollie Gowing Acquisition Fund for Contemporary Aboriginal Art 2018


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Roy Wiggan

Works in the collection


Shown in 1 exhibition

Exhibition history