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The painting shows a male and female turtle, called Nutmungi, the smaller is Jiritja and the larger the male Dua.
This design is a dance and part of the overlal [sic] story of the Maraian.
The long necked turtle is also synonymous with circumcision and when the boys are being cut the uncle will say that it is the neck of the turtle being cut not the boy- -so he the boy sould [sic] not feel it.
In parts of Arnhem Land there are groups of rocks that represnet [sic] the turtles- -and in particular the old ceremony turtle that travelled on a Dreaming track on land and swimming oceans and rivers taking the ceremony from Arnhem Land as far down as Katherin[e.] In the first place Nutmungi was an old man who fought with the old porcupine man. The needles on the porcupine are supposed to be spears flung by Nutmungi the turtle man, and the marks on his shell is bruising from the number of big stones that the porcupine man threw at him; after this epic battle the two men became - -one a large long necked turtle and the other the porcupine.
The turtle meat and fat is reserved for old men and the uninitiated or not fully versed in the ceremony law may not eat turtle meat (typed label on reverse of 2007.0053.1002).
A bark painting worked with ochres on bark. It depicts two large turtles painted with white heads and crosshatched bodies. The larger turtle is facing to the right while the smaller inverted turtle faces left. The painting has a yellow background.
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 298mm x H 470mm x D 30mm
ATSIC branch office