Collection Online
earth pigments on Stringybark (Eucalyptus sp.)
82.5 × 50.0 cm
Place/s of Execution
Yirrkala, Northern Territory
Accession Number
Indigenous Art
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased through The Art Foundation of Victoria with the assistance of the Utah Foundation, Fellow, 1990
Gallery location
Not on display
This painting relates to an incident in the Ancestral period when Barrama and Laitjung made a fish-trap across a creek, shown by the horizontal band. They drove a row of tree saplings into the creek-bed and filled in the gaps with branches, mud and grass. The fish- trap metamorphosed into a natural rock formation, visible at the site. In the creek the two Ancestral Beings saw fresh-water, long-necked tortoises and made them mardayin (sacred). The regular diamond pattern represents Minhala, the fresh-water tortoise, moving through weeds in the creek.