Collection Online
fibreglass, resin, cassowary feathers, pearl shell, synthetic polymer paint
30.0 × 30.0 cm (each)
Place/s of Execution
Cairns, Queensland
Accession Number
Indigenous Art
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased, Victorian Foundation for Living Australian Artists, 2016
© Alick Tipoti
Gallery location
Not on display
These small Mawa masks, or Poenipaniya, are associated with the baywa (whirlwind). The different masks represent spirits that the old people see in the baywa. The masks are decorated with samubaba (cassowary feathers) because they make different whistling, spiritual sounds within the baywa. This ancient whistling phenomenon is also associated with the samul wap (dugong and turtle spear). The pearl-shell eyes show that the baywa walk from the sea to the land, providing the village with abundant quantities of seafood, including fish, dugong and turtles during sorry business. These customary practices involve muruygal (old people of the past).