Menzies Art Brands



This masterful painting is associated with the secret/sacred Malierra (initiation) Ceremony that takes place at the mens business camp at Larunba (Napperby).

In this ceremony, Tjungurrayi and Tjapaltjarri youths are led through ritual song, dance, ground designs, body art and secret/sacred practices designed to take them through the rites of passage to manhood.

The tribesmen and youths are represented in this work as symbolic U-shapes accompanied by hair-string headbands and nulla nullas (fighting sticks).

The arc motifs resting in front of the men, lend form to the mens ceremonial body paint designs, as do the straight parallel bands shown along the picture plane.  The dotted patterning along the centre of this painting represents ritual body art associated with Napperby Lake, which flows beneath the earths surface at Larumba where the men are in ceremony.

The star-like motifs represent native Spinifex grass, from which the men make resin that is used as a binder in spear and stone-knife making.  Ash from spinifex is also used in Malierra.  The mens sacred ground design is depicted in this work as three concentric circles which the artist, imitating the haptic nature of ground painting, created to appear as if painted by hand or, in the artists own words, finger, rather than a brush.

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