Djarrka (water goanna)
In 'Djarrka (water goanna)' c1959 Djäwa provides an image of the black and yellow Mertens’ water monitor that relates to his mother’s clan group. The animated forms of the goannas are exquisitely realised, with intricate detailing of fine dots, dashes, line work and cross-hatching. Set against a plain ground, their dynamic forms give a sense of dimensionality, their seemingly suspended bodies anchored by the assured yellow line that dissects the composition, dividing the male goannas from the female.
Bark painting (Goanna totem)
natural pigments on bark
76.8 x 36.2 cm
Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Gift of Dr Stuart Scougall 1959
Not on display
© Djawa 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 3 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, 18 (illus.), 24. cat.no. 46; plate no. 18
Cara Pinchbeck, Art from Milingimbi, ‘Djawa’, pg. 76-85, Sydney, 2016, 80 (colour illus.), 141.
Unknown (Editor), Records of the American-Australian scientific expedition to Arnhem Land 1: Art, myth and symbolism, Melbourne, 1956, (illus.). plate no. 118 'B'