Untitled (Burial Site) natural earth pigments on eucalyptus bark 53.5 x 39cm
PROVENANCE: Painted at Milikapiti (Snake Bay), Melville Island in the 1960s Professor Helen Groger-Wurm, Canberra Sotheby's, Aboriginal Art, Melbourne, 24 June 2002, lot 219 Private collection
Cf. For a stylistically related work by Declan Apuatimi in the collection of the National Gallery of Australia see Wally Caruana (ed.), Windows on the Dreaming: Aboriginal Paintings in the Australian National Gallery, Canberra: Australian National Gallery and Sydney: Ellsyd Press, 1989, pl.79, p.137; and for a work by Mickey Aruni (circa 1917-1973) depicting the same subject matter see pl.80, p.139 (ibid).
In this work the artist depicts elements of the Tiwi Pukumani (Burial) Ceremony. According to Margaret Brandl, 'the concentric ochre circles mark the... milimika (dance ground), for the final memorial ceremony. The bands which cross [the inner circle] at right angles refer to the grave itself, as well as to the obvious Christian Mythology' (ibid, p.138).