David MALANGI DAYMIRRINGU | The Catfish dance

 
MALANGI DAYMIRRINGU, David
Australia 1927 – 1999
The Catfish dance
988/0497 Central vertical catfish motif on dark plain ground [1980s]
Bark Painting
natural pigments on eucalyptus bark
97.0 (h) x 41.3 (w) cm
Purchased through the Western Australian Government, 1988 Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth
© David Malangi. Licensed by VISCOPY, Australia
VIEW: Article | PROVENANCE |

Malangi continually experimented with compositional format in devising paintings to venerate the Djan'kawu. He developed a series distinctive for the central placement of figures on the bark, in bold white pigment and rärrk on a dense black ground.

The depiction of the Ancestral beings in this way signals a sacred dimension and suggests a realm beyond the everyday. Thus, as the catfishis one essence of the Djan'kawu, represented on bark, it also becomes an icon of the Djan’kawu in the spiritual sense.

Malangi was painting these iconic, minimal works when he was in his late sixties; a mature painter and a ritual leader. The process of distilling the subject was an intellectual and spiritual exercise associated with attaining cultural authority and religious knowledge.

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