David MALANGI DAYMIRRINGU | Tree Spirit

 
MALANGI DAYMIRRINGU, David
Australia 1927 – 1999
Tree Spirit
1985.0259.0254 Figure of creature with claws diagonally across picture plane, white hatching bottom left, tree upper right 1967
Bark Painting
natural pigments on eucalyptus bark
58.5 (h) x 35.0 (w) cm
Mrs Yolanda Pettinato Collection, National Museum of Australia, Canberra
© David Malangi. Licensed by VISCOPY, Australia
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One day, Gurrmirringu was carrying home the fruits of a good day’s hunting when he rested by a waterhole in the shade of a wurrumbuku [white berry tree] to cook some of his catch. Some stories record that an evil spirit lurked in the trees roots causing a king brown snake to rise from the roots and bite Gurrmirringu, killing him.

The evil tree spirit was an occasional subject of Malangi’s. The evil connotation was expressed in painting by a beaked and clawed diagonal figure and jagged forms merging with the gnarled tree forms.

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