Collection Online
synthetic polymer paint on canvas
62.3 × 61.0 cm
Place/s of Execution
Borroloola, Northern Territory
Accession Number
Indigenous Art
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Presented through The Art Foundation of Victoria by Beverly and Anthony Knight, Fellows, 1996
© Reproduced courtesy of the Estate of Ginger Riley Munduwalawala & Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne
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 represents the shark's liver tree, a ceremonial totemic construction made from paperbark, not a natural tree. Called the shark's liver tree because the shark gave his liver from which it was created, it is part of Riley's mother's creation story. The tree was formed when the shark, finding his liver too heavy to carry, made this construction with the help of two brown snakes, often shown guarding the tree, as in this work. The wedge shapes, which frame three sides of this work, are derived from the artist's shoulder and chest body-paint designs. The patterned edge serves to anchor the work within the law and point to another layer of meaning, that of song, dance and ceremony, visible but not spoken.