Important Aboriginal + Oceanic Art
27 March 2013


born 1952

natural earth pigments on eucalyptus bark

166.5 x 72.0 cm

Private sale

Maningrida Arts and Culture, Northern Territory (cat.15092000BP, label attached verso)
Annandale Galleries, Sydney (label attached verso)
Viart Corporation, New York (label attached verso)
Goldman Sachs J B Were Collection
Sotheby's, Melbourne, 15 November 2005, lot 88
Company collection, Melbourne

Catalogue text

This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from Maningrida Arts and Culture (attached verso) which states in part: 'It is well known that Aboriginal art often depicts images of sacred totems or dreamings of Aboriginal culture.However, the world of the non-sacred also provides a rich source of subject matter for Aboriginal art. Much of the rock art of western Arnhem Land, for example, depicts secular topics such as common food animals and plants, depicted because of their importance economically but also merely because of their existence in the environment.

'The artist has painted a Birlmu 'barramundi'. Duringthe dry season the barramundi is an important food source for inland Aboriginal people. These fish are caught throughout the artist's clan estate, either in fish traps woven from pandanus or sedge grass, or else hunted with spears and fishing lines in billabongs and streams where they shelter from the sun under fallen logs.

'The plant forms around the fish are wayuk and mardabul  'water lily' another common food source Aboriginal people living in the region. This depiction refers to the birlmu found at Mumeka, the outstation where the artist often lives. There is a creek near Mumeka which is an excellent barramundi fishing spot in the dry season.'