Baigwain Saan (Baiguwa’s Footprint)


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This is a traditional story unique to the artist’s island of Badu. Visual evidence of the events that took place can be seen as a shape resembling a footprint on a rock ledge on one of the island’s hills that looks across to the neighbouring Island of Moa.

 It is a ribald story about a man called Baiguwa that casts his penis from Badu to connect with a woman on Moa. This is quite an accomplishment as the distance between the two islands is approximately two kilometres. When he is unsuccessful in co joining with his lady friend she beats a fire sending sparks into the night sky to indicate to him that he must make another attempt. When he is successful she acknowledges this by extinguishing the fire.

 The man’s actions are critical to his observance of the Milky Way which is also known as Kaigasieu Usulal. The literal translation of this is the sand dust created by the Shovel Nose shark.

The position of the galaxy tells him when the currents between the two islands are weak (Gutat) or strong (Kulis). If he was to retrieve his penis during a strong current it would become entangled in the reef with resulting dire consequences.

 One night, the man no doubt distracted by the task at hand, neglected to properly observe the rotation of Kaigasieu Usulal and the escalation of the strong current between the two islands. When he became aware of his error he attempted to withdraw his penis but it became entangled in the waters between the two islands. Today a snake like reef between Badu and Moa can be observed which is said to be Baiguwa’s penis or Baiguwan Maza.

The artist has depicted the shovel nosed shark in the image of the foot. An etching technique known as tusche has been used to replicate the stone or rock effect.

 Only a single footprint on the rock ledge can be observed because Baiguwa needed to lift this other leg off the ground for balance in order to successfully cast his penis across to Moa.

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Additional information

Weight 1 kg
Dimensions 65 × 9 × 9 cm



Dennis Nona

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David Jones Editions Brisbane, QLD


David Jones and Dennis Nona




Torres Strait Islands