Betty Andy, Yalangi/Waanji people Australia b.1942 | Daniel Beeron, Girramay people Australia b. 1972 | Maureen Beeron, Girramay people Australia b.1957 | Nancy Beeron, Girramay people Australia b.1949 | Theresa Beeron, Girramay/Jirrbal people Australia b.1951 | Nancy Cowan, Warrgamay/ Warungnu people Australia b.1952 | Nephi Denham, Girramay people Australia b.1984 | Allison Murray, Girramay/Jirrbal people Australia b. 1967 | Doris Kinjun, Gulgnay people Australia b. 1947 | Emily Murray, Girramay/Jirrbal people Australia b. 1949 | John Murray, Girramay people Australia b. 1979 | Sally Murray, Girramay/Jirrbal people Australia b. 1947 | Ninney Murray, Girramay/jirrbal people Australia b. 1941 | Bagu (Firestick figure) and Jiman (Firestick) 2009 | Terracotta clay, ochres, string and Native Guava (Eupomatia laurina) | Purchased 2010 with funds from Xstrata Community Partnership Program Queensland through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation
Bagu (Firestick figure) and Jiman (Firestick) 2009
For Aboriginal people in North Queensland rainforests, fire was vital to daily life. It provided a focal point for social interaction and was used for cooking, warmth, making weapons, preserving food and in ceremonies. Wooden bagu (firestick figures) and jiman (firesticks) were carried from site to site as people moved camp seasonally and the designated keeper was under great pressure to keep these fire-making implements dry, particularly in wet weather.
Here Girringun Aboriginal artists have used fired clay with ochre patterning, native guava wood and string to make contemporary bagu and jiman, which are representations of the spirit man Chikka-Bunnah. The Girringun artists’ shift to using clay for bagu bodies was influenced by the scarcity of suitable wood that was previously accessible on land now privately owned or declared National Park. In this recent and successful movement, the artists have quickly developed recognisable styles, influenced partly by their cultural background and also reflecting personal aesthetic choices.