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Title

Wagilak sisters story

circa 1959


Artist

Dawidi Birritjama

Australia

1921 - 1970

Language group

Liyagalawumirr, Arnhem region


About

Central within this work is the form of Wititj (an olive python) encircling the Wägilak sisters and their children. Angered by the presence of the sisters at his waterhole of Mirarrmina, Wititj rose into the sky, his flicking tongue creating lightning and his spit forming towering clouds that generate the first monsoon, flooding the earth with its deluge.

As the sisters had not respected marriage laws, they and their children were swallowed by Wititj as punishment. To boast of what he had done, Wititj again rose to the skies but was ostracised by other serpents who alerted him to the fact that the sisters were his relatives and of the same moiety. He had therefore also broken the law, and on becoming ill regurgitated the sisters and fell to the ground.

The resting place of Wititj is marked by Dawidi as the dominant triangular motif to the left of the work. Also evident is the semi-circular form of the waterhole and the plant and animal life of this inland freshwater area.


Details


Other Title

Wauwalag Sisters story


Date

circa 1959


Media category

Bark painting


Materials used

natural pigments on bark


Dimensions

75.0 x 37.0 cm (irreg.)


Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.


Credit

Gift of Dr Stuart Scougall 1960


Location

Not on display


Accession number

IA45.1960


Artist information

Dawidi Birritjama

Artist profile

Works in the collection

7


Place

Where the work was made
Milingimbi

Shown in 4 exhibitions

Exhibition history


Referenced in 2 publications

Bibliography


Edmund Capon, Unknown, Tony Tuckson, Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, Christopher Hodges, Helen Eager, Unknown, Unknown, Daphne Wallace and Unknown, Gamarada, Sydney, 1996, 42 (colour illus.).

Margo Neale, Yiribana: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander collection, Sydney, 1994, 42, 44 (colour illus.), 136, 139. plate no. 18