David Malangi painting
Aboriginal bark painting by David Malangi
The design of this bark painting is best known from the Australian 1 dollar bill. A European art collector Karel Kupka collected a David Malangi painting with this design in 1963. He sold it to a museum in Paris. Sometime later McPherson of the Reserve Bank of Australia was in Paris and visited the collection. McPherson was so impressed with Malangi’s work that he requested permission to photograph it. In 1966, when Australia adopted decimal currency the motif of the original dollar note was a direct representation of this David Malangi artwork.
David Malangi was the traditional guardian of this dreaming and is part of the Manarrngu mortuary rites. The central figure Gurrumirringu a great hunter has died and his body painted by senior men for burial . A song group is sitting around the body playing the didgeridoo and beating the clap sticks. As they paint the body they sing the story of his death.
Painting is very flat, excellent pigments and 123cm X 72 cm
One day Gurrumirringu had an exceptional days hunting, killing a large monitor lizard, wallaby, emu and many other small creatures as well as gathering wild yams and fruit. As dusk fell he decided to camp under a tree by a waterhole. He lit a fire cut up the wallaby and started cooking it on the coals. Unfortunately the tree Gurrumirringu settled under was an evil tree. This tree had enticed a venomous brown snake to live at its base. The tree hated Gurrumirringu, and so persuaded the brown snake (just right of the body to slither out of hiding and bite the great hunter on the ankle resulting in instant death.
Gurrumirringu spirit is now the guardian of the Manarrgu people and the story of his life and cause of his death is re- enacted in dance and song when ever a member of a clan dies.