Bailer shell totem

BUNAYA: artist

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Not On Display

About the work

This is an important painting in the old style in which one object is shown on a plain background. The bark tells of the story of a myth in which porpoise’s were playing with bailer shells in the passage between Chasm Island and Groote Eylandt. A large crowd of porpoises were passing the bailer shells from one to another, balancing them on their heads, talking to one another and suckling their young. Suddenly a shark appeared bit one porpoise through the middle and left his head and tail floating on the sea. The bailer shell totem is called Yukuna. The painter Bunaya is from the Mamariga clan Moiety2. Identified by Bunaya at Groote Eyland 5/72.
Bailer shell totem
Artist/Maker and role
BUNAYA: artist
ochres on eucalyptus bark
24.7 x 48.8cm
Credit line
Purchased through the Western Australian Government, 1988
The State Art Collection, The Art Gallery of Western Australia
Accession number

View all works by BUNAYA (Australian, b.1972)

This is one of the bark paintings in our collection.