Uzu Pui (Stone Fish Medicine) by Dennis NonaUzu Pui (Stone Fish Medicine) by Dennis Nona
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Uzu Pui (Stone Fish Medicine)

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This work relates to occasions when islanders were stung on the reef by Stone Fish, a deadly and venomous creature, and the medicines available to manage pain and cure the wound. A medicine is derived from the Del Pui tree, a plant that grows in certain shorelines. It is picked and then boiled on hot coals in Alups [shell containers]. Once cooked, the leaves are removed and allowed to dry, leaving syrupy green juices in the Alup. The juices are used to then soak the bite and relieve pain. In the image, one of the victim’s legs is depicted going into the Stone Fish’s mouth, indicating that the inside of the fish itself also holds a key to a cure. The fish contains its own antidote for stings, and islanders are aware that within the liver of the fish another green substance, known as ‘ILL’, can be used to fix the pain. On the bottom of the plate, the wavy lines indicate a rising tide, and further represent the element of time it takes to address a sting before it is too late. If the sting is not treated immediately, it is said that as the tide rises through the night, so will the levels of pain. Islanders know that the poison lasts for roughly the same time as a tide cycle, and as the tide turns and begins to go down, the pain will also begin to subside.

Artwork Information

Location Australia
Region Torres Strait
Artist Dennis Nona
NWC Nation N/A
Date Created 2005
Dimensions 26" x 13 3/4"
Materials & Edition edition 86 etching

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