Foremost among the works of Indigenous art in the Wesfarmers Collection is a selection of hollow log poles by artists of Maningrida and Yirrkala communities of Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory. Hollow log poles are traditionally known as Lorrkon in the community of Maningrida and Larrakitj in the community of Yirrkala.
Today, Lorrkon/Larrakitj are made as works of art – but their original purpose is founded in the mortuary traditions of Arnhem Land culture. The Lorrkon/Larrakitj coffin ceremony was the final ceremony in a sequence of mortuary rituals celebrated by the people of Arnhem Land. This ceremony involves the placing of the deceased’s bones into a hollow log decorated with painted clan designs and ceremonially placed into the ground where it remained until it slowly decayed over many years. The log is made from a termite-hollowed Stringybark tree (Eucalyptus tetradonta) and decorated with totemic emblems.
The works seen here are by the following artists:
MANINGRIDA, NORTHERN TERRITORY: James Iyuna, John Mawurndjul, Ivan Namirrki, Samuel Namundja and Debra Wurkidj of Maningrida, NT, Kuninjku language group
YIRRKALA, NORTHERN TERRITORY: Nonggirnga Marawili, Napuwarri Marawili and Naminapu Maymura-Whyte, Yolgnu language group
All works are in ochre on stringybark, variable dimensions
The Wesfarmers Collection, Perth
The artists, Maningrida Arts and Culture, Maningrida and Buku-Larrngay Mulka Art Centre, Yirrkala