DETAIL: Fred FISHER 'Tilt' 2005, MDF synthetic polymer paint
© Restricted

Northern Territory 1973
Dhanbarr 2004
natural earth pigments on carved termite hollowed stringybark trunk
259.0 (h) cm 15.0 cm (diameter)
Purchased 2005
NGA 2005.1039
VIEW: Artist's Statement |

Larrakiyjdja munbi first one nyangura gapu, ganda’yun half way middle dhawattuna second one. Dulkthun, dhawattuna munbi nhawi nhangu wanga gapu nhangu nyankthun ngayi gapulili. Wapthun gapu dawathun gapu munbilili. Ngunhi nhangu patterns my side. Wiripu Gawirringu sidedja. Gawudu miny’tji. Gumurr. Marr’ma manapan.

This larrakitj shows Munbi the nest of the Minhala (long-necked tortoise ancestral being) and his sacred water at Gangan. He enters the nest in the first raised area of the larrakitj and becomes stuck halfway. He emerges from the second raised area. He explodes from the nest and moves through his water in his sacred place. He jumped from that water, rose out of it to enter the nest. The patterns of his nest are from my side and the designs of the water are from Gawirrin’s (an important Dhalwangu clan elder) side, Gawudu, Buyku or Gumurr, the fishtrap place. These two patterns link together at this point.

That larrakitj nyangura ngalapalmirri dhawul djama balinya. Ngarraku mulkurr dawathuna carving a little bit different. Ngayi yolngunha mel-lapmarangala.

Old people did not make memorial poles exactly like this before. My mind was struck by the idea of doing the carving a little bit differently. I wanted to open people’s eyes!

Dhuwal ngarraku ngandiwu miny’tji. Bayanguthirr ngarraku ngandi ga ngathi...

This is my design because my mother and her father held this identity and passed it to me. They are both gone now.

Dhuwal dhuyu madayin. Yuwalk ngarra nangala nhangu djalkiri ga munbi dolungurr Rarrandarryu.

You can see in Rarrandarr (the late dry season) the little footprints of the tortoise coming out of these mounds that they sleep in through winter. This is part of the identity of this place. This is a sacred story and there are secret things that I cannot talk about in these designs. They are hidden like Minhala in his Munbi.

Photography: Will Stubbs
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