Lot 28
  • 28

Yirawala 1903 - 1976 UNTITLED

Estimate
15,000 - 20,000 AUD
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Description

  • Yirawala
  • UNTITLED
  • bears artist's name and catalogue number 38 on the reverse
  • natural earth pigments on eucalyptus bark
  • 51.5 BY 26.5CM

Provenance

Likely to have been painted at Minjilang (Croker Island), Western Arnhem Land circa 1970
Private collection

Condition

A crack running down the left hand side of the bark virtually from top to bottom, approximately 6-7cm (in from the left hand side) has been restored and a smaller crack approximately 15cm long extending from the lower right hand margin has similarly been restored. There has been overpainting to the white background in much of the painiting, this probably having been carried out by a restorer.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."

Catalogue Note

Cf. For similar images of sorcery figures collected by Karel Kupka, see Mimih, man and woman, 1960, and Mimih or sorcery figure, c.1963, in the collections of the Museum der Kulturen, Basel, Switzerland, and the National Gallery of Australia respectively, in Hetti Perkins (ed.), Crossing Country: The Alchemy of Western Arnhem Land Art, Sydney: Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2004, pp.54, 55, illus.

The artist has depicted a victim of sorcery. Stingray barbs are shown inserted into the joints to metaphorically inflict pain on the subject, usually a person who has broken the rules of marriage. Such images are relatively rare as Christian missionaries in the communities of western Arnhem Land prohibited these depictions in an effort to prevent the practice of sorcery. Nonetheless, paintings of this genre were often made at the request of anthropologists and researchers.