Jump to content
Where our stories come alive
W 585mm x H 1100mm x D 25mm
Large panel of fibrous bark with two pieces of split wood joined with fishing line and grass leaf at the top. Figurative imagery of men, women and children worked across surface of the panel painted in ochre tones of red, yellow, black and white. Text "Safe Way", "Sad way" and "If You love me" in the top section of the panel with figures, houses and transport (including aeroplane and car); "CONDOMS" left of centre of the panel with two figures in bed and figures to right of centre in sexual positions; "Love me safely" and "Help Prevent Aids" in lower section with figures grieving by coffin to right. Figures at centre in family group below trees, with house and car. Reverse with text in black marker pen "MARRNYULA / 400YIR".
The bark painting 'If you Love Me, Love Me Safely, 2000' by , Marrynula Mununggurr was painted at suggestion of the Northern Territory Aids and Hepatitis Council. The painting was sold to raise funds for the Council's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Aids and Hepatitis awareness project. The painting uses a simple graphic style that show 'the right way' and 'the sad way'. Mununggurr had previously painted a bark with an identical message for the Northern Territory Department of Health. Posters were produced of this image which were used by health workers in the field to educate Indigenous people about using condoms to prevent AIDS and Hepatitis.
This is an extraordinary explicit piece of work that has been produced from within a culture that holds taboos about references to sexual practice. The bark painting refers to serious contemporary health issues faced by Indigenous communities and to initiatives that have been taken by various health organisations in the Northern Territory. The painting also refers to issues of displacement and loss of acess to traditional lands.
Commissioned the work
The work was auctioned to raise money for thsi organisation
The funds raised from the sale of this work were used to support a four-year project of retreats and health clinics in the Tiwi Islands