• Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size
Ancestral Figure; Artist: Attributed to Larrtjanga GanambarrFijian Sali club

Artist: Birrikidji Gumana (1898-1982)
View Full-Size Image

Artist: Birrikidji Gumana (1898-1982)

Ask a question about this item

Artist: Birrikidji Gumana (1898 - 1982)

Yirrkala/North-east Arnhem Land/Northern Territory/Australia

Collected: by Jim Davidson 1965

Size: 58cm x 28cm

This painting is a fine example of the Diamond shaped design owned by the Dalwangu Clan of the Yirritja Moiety.  Birrikitji has the right to paint this design and is the Keeper of the Secrets for his clan.  It is part of the Laintjun legend and depicts the favourite lagoon he loved to camp by.  Illustrated is the fresh water cray also the barramundi and the night heron.

The ancestral hero Laintjun  came out of the sea in the Dreaming with the sea foam forming the diamond patterns on his body.  Laintjun taught the Dalwangu Clan how to paint the diamond pattern and the meaning of them.  When Laintjun first arrived from the sea as an ancestral spirit, he assumed a human form.  He later searched the Arafura swamp and found and ate the “Sacred Honey Comb” and so became a spirit man.  In time he became the greatest warrior and hunter in all Arnhem Land.  When he came out of the sea he brought with him all the Yirritja totems and distributed them to all the Yirritja Clans.

The diamond pattern represents the sea foam on Laintjuns body, the Sacred Honey comb and water rippling through the sticks of the fish trap.

Two of Birrikitji sons Yangarrin (born 1935) and Luma Luma (born 1939) now have earned the right to paint this story.  They have become important artists in their own right.



Last Updated: Thursday, 22 February 2018 14:51