Minimini Mamarika
Mitjunga, Malay Prau

Gallery 1

About this work of art

Audio description of the work of art

The Malay Prau by Minimini Mamarika is an earth pigment on eucalyptus bark painting.

Mamarika is of the Anindilyakwa people who live at Umbakumba, Groote Eylandt, Northern Territory. Located 650km east of Darwin and 50km off the Arnhem Land coast in the Gulf of Carpentaria.

The earth pigments are brown, red, yellow and white ochre. Finely ground rock mixed with plant sap is painted onto the bark.

Created in 1948, the landscape format painting is 43.7 cm high and 86 cm wide and it depicts a type of sailing boat originating in Indonesia.

The rectangle of bark is irregular with uneven edges. The painted inner-bark surface is smooth and slightly undulating with fine horizontal cracks. The rear of the painting is the rougher outer bark of the tree.

The smooth bark is painted with dark brown ochre to create the background. In the centre of the bark is a boat, The Malay Prau.

Depicted from the side, the hull of the boat is rectangular with a flat bottom and deck. The bow is triangular, with a spar or bowsprit extending like a pointed nose up towards the upper left of the painting. The bow and stern are the same.

In the upper right of the painting, above the deck and the stern of the boat, is a rectangular sail, three red vertical lines for its mast.

One curving yellow line at the front and two curving yellow lines at the rear of the sail, are ropes hanging down to the deck.

A long straight diagonal yellow line at the stern is possibly the tiller of the boat. Two yellow triangular shapes below the front of the flat bottom of the boat are possibly the blades of two paddles.

Standing on the deck with their arms in the air are five yellow ochre figures with white hair or hats, and white cloth at their waists. A sixth bearded figure stands atop the triangular bow of the boat, his arms lowered.

Outlined in yellow, the red hull of the boat features four red circles with yellow and white centres positioned evenly along its side. Larger yellow and white rectangular and triangular shapes, all patterned with fine repetitive vertical and horizontal lines decorate the entire side of the boat.

The sail, outlined in yellow and white and the same brown as the painted background, is patterned with fine vertical, diagonal and criss-crossed red, white and yellow lines.