Collection Online

Wamidai (Plant medicine)

colour etching
23.0 × 48.5 cm (plate) 49.5 × 70.3 cm (sheet)
Place/s of Execution
Brisbane, Queensland
artist's proof
inscribed in pencil l.l.: A/P
inscribed in pencil l.c.: WAMIbai
inscribed in pencil l.r.: Dennis Nona 2005
Accession Number
Indigenous Art
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Presented by Wooloongabba Art Gallery, 2007
© Dennis Nona. Courtesy of The Aboriginal Art Network.
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
This work depicts a man on a sleeping mat protected by Wamidai (plant medicine) from attacks from small bloodthirsty burrowing insects. Wamidai refers to a purplish flower found near shoreline mangroves on several islands. In past times, women who were gathering food would also collect the little flowers and place them under the family sleeping mats before dark. The flowers stop 'Bak', a small bloodthirsty burrowing insect, from coming up from the ground and biting people who were asleep. When the insect smells the flowers, it is driven away like a repellent. This medicine was used for hundreds of years and ceased in the 1800s when missionaries brought alternative methods of insect control.