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Date: c 1989
Overall: 220 x 820 x 175 mm, 2.5 kg
Medium: Wood, natural pigments
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Garry Anderson
Object Name: Sculpture
Object No: 00015639
Place Manufactured:Arafura Sea

User Terms

    Carved from a single piece of timber this sculptural piece represents a shark of northern Arnhem Land. The dorsal and pectoral fins have been carved separately and it has then been painted with local ochres and the eyes and gills marked out in black.
    SignificanceThis carved figurative sculpture is an expression of the artist interpreting a shark from his area of Maningrida in the Northern Territory.
    HistoryCarved figurative sculptures can be central elements in rituals and are associated with spirit and totemic beings connected to particular sites. Specific social groups or clans use these objects in ceremonies which can include dance and song where the object is carried or used as a focal point.

    They can also be an expression of the artist interpreting his or her land, everyday occurrences and specific animals endemic to their area. A poker-burned carved wood animal is a traditional Aboriginal craft done mostly for trade and tourists.

    Different types of wood are used according to region with Desert Oak, Kurrajong, Bean and Mulga trees providing a good source. Ironwood is both heavy and hard, limiting the amount of detail that can be achieved which is compensated for by the very detailed painting that decorates the figure. Soft woods allow extensive incising. A complete section of the carving is painted with a solid colour and patterns are created by incising through the colour to the yellowish wood.
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