Octupus becomes turtle

Liwukan Bukurlarjpi: artist

No image available

Not On Display

About the work

The octopus, Manda is a sacred totem of the Warramiri clan. The Octopus sometimes changes himself into a turtle so he can go on the land. The painting shows the octopus just undergoing the transformation. The turtle head is shown between the eyes of the turtle. The tentacles of the octopus still remain and the body is partly octopus and partly turtle. The arrow shaped tail is lodged between rocks so the creature will not float away as it is changing. The cross hatching represents water. The triangular design on the body is the Gumaitj pattern. The Warramirri people often come from the Gumaitj side, Liwukan explained so they can use this pattern. This is Liwukan's father’s totem. It relates to the Ganbulabula Mokuy, which also has the Gumaitj mala design on the chest.
Octupus becomes turtle
Artist/Maker and role
Liwukan Bukurlarjpi: artist
ochres on eucalyptus bark
71.0cm x 37.5cm
Credit line
Purchased through the Western Australian Government, 1988
The State Art Collection, The Art Gallery of Western Australia
Accession number

This is one of the bark paintings in our collection.