Jump to content
Where our stories come alive
You need permission to reuse this image. Photography, supply and licensing fees may apply.
The central portions of this painting depict the bones of one of the creator Ancestors of the Manggalili clan. When this Ancestor died his body washed up at the beach at Cape Shield to create a major sacred site belonging to this clan. This central figure is surrounded by representations of the other Dreaming which travelled together and helped to create Manggalili clan lands. The kangaroo Garrtjambal, who was chased by the Ancestral Dog to create a lake at Gundawuy south of Trial Bay, is shown in the top left hand corner of the painting. The emus who created waterholes where they dug are shown on the left hand side of the painting along with the possums who are whon spinning their fur into sacred string. This later transformed into a sandbank at Djarrakpi on Cape Shield. Surrounding the central figure are two waterpythons who create clouds and rain by spitting water into the sky. Below the central figure are the two crocodiles and stingray which created sites around Blue Mud Bay. On the right hand side of the painting the freshwater turtle and heron are shown. At the top of the painting a scene of a mortuary ceremony is depicted. The Creator Ancestors are instituting the ceremony which, after their death, humans will continue to follow. [ATSIC card catalogue]
A colour painting on board featuring a face at the top with two snakes positioned vertically with two burial poles, two lizards and a black stingray in between. Down the sides are animals in between them are dot and cross hatch patterns. On the reverse is handwritten that reads 'DAA 10051 / FRAME 212' The painting is mounted to a board and has a wooden frame. There is a black exhibition label attached to the backing board some of which reads 'Title Mortuary Ceremony 1978 / Artist Narritjin Maymuru ...'.
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs Art collection comprises 2050 artworks and other objects. The artworks - which numerically dominate the collection - were produced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities throughout Australia. The accumulation of these artworks into a single collection has resulted from the choices and selections made during a 38 year period by a variety of staff working for the Council for Aboriginal Affairs (CAA), the Department of Aboriginal Affairs (DAA), the Aboriginal Development Commission (ADC) and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) at the national, regional and local levels.
The collection spans the years following the 1967 referendum, when dramatic changes in the governance of Aboriginal people took place, up to 2005 when the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission was dissolved. It provides a snapshot of the diversity and changes in Indigenous art and its representation which occurred during the period of its formation. The small number of 'non-art' objects in the collection is also significant in providing insights into the working of the various Commonwealth bodies involved in Indigenous affairs. As well as the significance of many of the individual pieces, the collection is also significant as a whole, as a complex artefact stemming from Australia's history of governance of Australian Indigenous peoples.
W 1263mm x H 1615mm x D 65mm
Date of work
ATSIC branch office