Collection Online

Fishing story from the Djambarrpuyngu mortuary rites

earth pigments on Stringybark (Eucalyptus sp.)
97.7 × 46.7 cm
Place/s of Execution
Milingimbi, 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
© Manuwa/Licensed by VISCOPY, Australia
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of The Vizard Foundation
Gallery location
Not on display
Physical description
The artist depicts a story associated with Djambarrpuyngu mortuary rites and the journey of the soul of the dead to its spiritual resting place. Men are looking for fish in a river off the south end of Elcho Island. The wet season rains come in and the current sweeps men and fish out to the sea. Thus the soul of the dead returns to its destination, borne on the swollen floodwaters of wet season rivers. As it is carried along in the water, it has to avoid being speared as a fish, eaten by a bird or caught in a trap.