Osulal (dugong dust on the reef) by Dennis NonaOsulal (dugong dust on the reef) by Dennis Nona
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Osulal (dugong dust on the reef)

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This print describes a traditional method of hunting Dugong in the Western Torres Strait islands. At the bottom of the image three hunters float in their canoe (Gul) looking out for Dugong. The man on the left is an experienced hunter and he is showing the young men how to hunt. A Dugong good luck charm floats next to the canoe to attract the animals when they get closer. The dugong are far away and out of sight, but the men can see layers of dust in the water marking their trail. These trails can only be seen when there is a strong current (kulis), and in the image they are the pale blue strips of sea. They are engraved with pearl and turtle shell designs. Once a trail becomes visible, the men float closer in their canoe, to the point where the Dugong are feeding on the reef. The old man tells the boys they can attract the Dugong by throwing out a sucker fish on twine, which is lying at the bottom of the canoe. This print also reminds me of the changing colour of the sea. I have used an Aquatint to create the contrasts in the sea's colour. When the water is light blue you can see everything.

Artwork Information

Location Australia
Region Torres Strait
Artist Dennis Nona
NWC Nation N/A
Date Created 2005
Dimensions 35.4" X 27.2"
Materials & Edition etching & aquatint, edition of 99

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