Dreaming before a circumcision
circa 1915 - 1975
Bob Bilinyara was central to the group of artists working in Milingimbi in the 1950s. Like Makani he later resided in Maningrida, where he played a leading role mentoring younger artists, and also at Nangalala. He was among the group of Yolngu men enlisted as part of Donald Thompson’s Special Reconnaissance Unit, charged with protecting Australia’s northern coastline during the later stages of World War II. Bilinyara was also a respected surgeon; in this work, he gives figurative form to those involved in an initiation ceremony.
natural pigments on bark
61.0 x 36.5 cm (irreg.)
Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Gift of Dr Stuart Scougall 1959
Not on display
© Bilinyara Estate. Licensed by Aboriginal Artist Agency Ltd, Sydney.
Where the work was made
Shown in 2 exhibitions
Australian Aboriginal art: bark paintings, carved figures, sacred and secular objects: an exhibition arranged by the State art galleries of Australia, 1960-1961:
- Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney 17 Aug 1960–18 Sep 1960
- Queensland Art Gallery, South Brisbane Oct 1960–Oct 1960
- National Gallery of Victoria [Swanston Street], Melbourne Nov 1960–Dec 1960
- Western Australian Art Gallery, Perth Feb 1961–Mar 1961
- National Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide Apr 1961–Apr 1961
- Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart May 1961–Jun 1961
Art from Milingimbi: taking memories back, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 12 Nov 2016–29 Jan 2017
Referenced in 2 publications
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, 23. cat.no. 44
Art from Milingimbi, Sydney, 2016, 42 (colour illus.), 140.