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Blood Totem (Talta)

2009
acrylic on canvas
120x140cm
FW11391

Painting continues to be an integral part of asserting identity for Indigenous Australians in post-traditional life. Equally important is connection with land and the physical elements. The title 'Totem' reflects the artist’s desire to explore the relationship between the physicalities of land and the cultural beliefs and traditions of Aboriginal Australians.

One of the most important species of flora on the artist’s traditional country on the Gulf of Carpentaria is the Bloodwood tree, a eucalyptus encased in a thick, rough bark. The design in this painting reflects the natural shape and textures of the Bloodwood tree, a hardwood often used for making didgeridoos. The tree gained its name from the red sap that flows from it when cut. Colour is used to represent the various stages of growth and change in the tree through the seasons.

Looking through the Bloodwood Totem, we are offered a rare insight into a hybrid world, perceptions of indigenous culture and connectivity filtered through a stylish and very precise urban familiarity.

Courtesy of Katrina Chapman 2004

This artwork is available for sale.