Sacred dance ground of the Mungalili (Manggalilji) group
circa 1914 - 1969
Artist/origin: Mungalili (Manggalilji) group, Brailung (Burilung?) clan, jiridja moiety, mainland near Groote Eylandt, Yirrkala, Arnhem Land
Six men came across the sea in two canoes, catching a great number of fish. On arriving at land they cooked and ate the fish and then declared the area should be a sacred dance ground of the group. Two huts on either side were made to house men to guard the sacred place. Four scrub turkeys and four cormorants, types of birds which often visit the site, are shown. In the lower section is a ceremony taking place.
The painting also tells the story of Bamapana, the legendary trickster hero who commited asocial acts. In this case, he has killed a girl, his gurrong, and hung her up in a tree (shown lower right).
natural pigments on bark
130.3 x 53.3 cm
Gift of Dr Stuart Scougall 1960
Not on display
Where the work was made
North-east Arnhem Land
Shown in 2 exhibitions
Purchases and Acquisitions for 1960, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 22 Mar 1961–23 Apr 1961
Remembering Forward: An Exhibition of Major Australian Indigenous Artists, Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany, 20 Nov 2010–20 Mar 2011
Referenced in 2 publications
Emily Joyce Evans and Falk Wolf, Remembering forward: Australian Aboriginal painting since 1960, 'Bark paintings', pg. 102-123, Cologne, 2010, 110 (colour illus.). cat.no. 50
Tony Tuckson, Christopher Hodges and Helen Eager, Gamarada, Sydney, 1996, 36 (colour illus.).