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Seattle Art Museum (SAM)


Photo: iocolor, Seattle



Baluka Maymuru

Australian Aboriginal, Manggalili clan, Djarrakpi, Northeast Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, born 1947

Djarrakpi is the artist’s beloved homeland, where a Yingapungapu is seen in the middle of this log whose center has been eaten by termites. One life form devouring another is a constant theme. The log has two jaws, ready to take in the bones of a person who is protected by the layers that illustrate fate. At the bottom, the sacred design of the Manggalili clan refers to saltwater and tracks of the ghost sand crab that cleans carcasses on the beach. A fish caught by the ancestral hunters appears beneath the Yingapungapu. At the top, a serpent tastes fresh water and stands on his tail to announce the beginning of the wet season by spitting lightning into the sky.
Natural pigments on hollow eucalyptus log
88 9/16 x 6 1/2 in. (225 x 16.5cm)
Gift of Margaret Levi and Robert Kaplan, in honor of the 75th Anniversary of the Seattle Art Museum
Provenance: [Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Arts Centre, Yirrkala, Australia]; Margaret Levi and Robert Kaplan, Seattle, Washington, 2000
Photo: iocolor, Seattle
Not currently on view


Exhibition HistorySeattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, Sorry Business, July 30, 2001 - Jan. 2, 2006.

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, Ancestral Modern: Australian Aboriginal Art from the Kaplan & Levi Collection, May 31 - Sept. 12, 2012 (Nashville, Tenessee, Frist Center for the Visual Arts, June 23 - Oct. 15, 2017; Madison, Wisconsin, Chazen Museum of Art, University of Wisconsin, Jan. 26 - Apr. 22, 2018; Austin, Texas, Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas, June 3 - Sept. 9, 2018; Whistler, British Columbia, Canada, Audain Art Museum, Oct. 5, 2018 - Jan. 28, 2019). Text by Pamela McClusky, Wally Caruana, Lisa Graziose Corrin, and Stephen Gilchrist. Cat. no. 46, p. 144, reproduced.

Published ReferencesSeattle Art Museum: Bridging Cultures, London: Scala Publishers Ltd. for the Seattle Art Museum, 2007; p. 36, reproduced p. 37.

Ishikawa, Chiyo, ed. A Community of Collectors: 75th Anniversary Gifts to the Seattle Art Museum. Seattle, Washington: Seattle Art Museum, 2007; reproduced p. 86.

Seattle Art Museum respectfully acknowledges that we are on Indigenous land, the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people. We honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future.

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