Wagilak sisters story
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.
Wauwalag Sisters story
natural pigments on bark
75.0 x 37.0 cm (irreg.)
Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Gift of Dr Stuart Scougall 1960
Not on display
© Dawidi Estate. Licensed by Aboriginal Artists Agency Ltd
Where the work was made
Shown in 4 exhibitions
Purchases and Acquisitions for 1960, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 22 Mar 1961–23 Apr 1961
Gamarada, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 15 Nov 1996–16 Feb 1997
Bulada, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 23 Aug 1997–14 Dec 1997
Art from Milingimbi: taking memories back, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 12 Nov 2016–29 Jan 2017
Referenced in 3 publications
Edmund Capon AM, OBE, Steven Miller, Tony Tuckson, James Scougall, Mollie Gowing, Harry Messel, Craig Brush, Ronald Fine, Alison Fine, Gordon Davies, Rosalind Davies, Christopher Hodges, Helen Eager, Rosemary Gow, Sandra Phillips, Daphne Wallace and Ken Watson, 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
Cara Pinchbeck, Art from Milingimbi, ‘Dawidi’, pg. 64-71, Sydney, 2016, 69 (colour illus.), 140.