An image of The story of Djirt

Narritjin Maymuru

(Australia circa 1916 – 1981)

Yirrkala, Arnhem region, Djarrakpi, Arnhem region
Language group
Manggalili, Arnhem region

The story of Djirt

Other titles:
The story of Djirrt
Not on display
Further information

A small boy called Djirt found a dead fish on the beach and began to cook it. His father asked him to share the fish but Djirt refused. Then Djirt's father went fishing in a dug-out which is shown twice near the top of the painting, with paddles, woomera and fishing spear. The father caught many fish and began to cook them in a special cooking place shown at the centre of the painting. Djirt asked his father to share the fish, but the father said: "No, this will pay you back".

Djirt was so unhappy with this that he began to weep and wail and slowly changed into a bird and flew to the top of a tree. His father was so upset that he to changed into a bird and flew into the tree to join his son. The two birds are shown at the top of the painting sitting in the tree and the metamorphoses is depicted in the body of the painting.

At the bottom left we see Djirt's mother and aunt digging for yams. The mother has a dilly bag around her neck. Djirt's two uncles are shown at bottom left weaving a dilly bag with bush string.

Harry Messel

Place of origin
Yirrkala, North-east Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia
Bark painting
natural pigments on bark
92.0 x 40.0 cm
Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.

Gift of Harry Messel 1989
Accession number
© Narritjin Maymuru Estate