Unknown

(Australia  – )

The dugong

Location
Not on display
Further information

Adjira-madja is an increase centre for dugongs….The dugong, a sea mammal, has come to the surface to breathe. When the Aboriginal people see the creature submerge, they paddle to that place and sing the magical chant which exhorts it to return to the surface at the same spot. If the dugong obeys the chant, it is killed.

[The dugong] is the painting of the dugong, the flesh of which is a favourite food of the Aboriginal people. The conventionalised designs on the body represent the skin markings of the animal.

[Charles P. Mountford, 'Records of the American-Australian scientific expedition to Arnhem Land vol.1: Art, myth and symbolism', pg. 67]

Place of origin
Groote Eylandt, Northern Territory, Australia
Year
1948
Media
Bark painting
Medium
natural pigments on bark
Dimensions
35.6 x 63.5 cm
Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.

Credit
Gift of the Commonwealth Government 1956
Accession number
9263
Copyright
© the artist courtesy Anindilyakwa Arts and Cultural Centre