Mary MARABAMBA, Fish trap Enlarge 1 /1


Eastern Kunwinjku people

Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia born 1938

Fish trap 2001 Description: No 27 #3017-01
Place made: Maningrida, central Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia
Materials & Technique: sculptures, fibrework, jungle vine, bush string interlacing

Dimensions: 96.4 h x 52.0 w x 56.0 d cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 2002
Accession No: NGA 2002.381

Burarra and Kuninjku people are particularly renown for making fish traps. Burarra make conical fish traps jina-bakara, using pandanus. Traditionally, only men were involved in the construction of the large fish traps, but small children were used to crawl inside to assist with the inner trap.

Today some artists use fish trap forms as the basis for sculptural works of art. Artists innovate with forms and colours, using diverse weaving techniques to make sculptures that have their origin in the traditional fish trap techniques. The utilitarian purpose of the fish trap is not any more the main focus of such production. Artists re-explore traditional techniques to create contemporary and innovative works of art.

 (documentation from Maningrida Arts and Culture art centre)

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra