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Samuel Badikupa: File Snakes

The Artist and the Work of Art

Samual Badikupa File Snakes

This work of art depicts the file snake (Djakul) and the water lilly (Dhatam). Both of these are totems that belong tot he Samual Badikupa and the Galpu Clan. The djakul has eggs and it lies on top of the water lilly leaf in the sun. The lines across the painting represents the vines and roots of the lillies. The white and yellow cross hatching represents the water going in a circle because of rotting nuts and debris that lies underneath the water. The file snake is also responsible for bringing the rain and can be a food source for the other Yolngu clans. The work of art was painted onto stringybark using natural ochres around 1995.

Samual Badikupa comes from Elcho Island, Arnhem-land, Northern Territory and is a  member of the Galpu clan.

Australian Bark Paintings

There is no proof or testimony of how and when bark paintings began. There are early accounts from the first European  explorers that showed bark paintings in their illustration. There are records of decorated bark sheets being generated in serval places such as Tasmania, Victoria, New South Wales and particularly in the Northern Territory.. Many people believe that bark painting started on the inside of shelters, when the family gathered under the huts to protect themselves from strong rains. It is known too that many surfaces were used to paint on.

Bark Paintings today come mainly from the northern part of the Northern Territory, such as Arnhem Land, Groote Eylandt and the Kimberleys.