Dugal (winner works on paper at the 25th Telstra Indigenous Art Award)


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Dugal is the name of the star that is visible in the early morning sky for about two weeks during August and September. Its presence tells the Torres Strait Islanders that it is the time to harvest the wild yams, Kutai, Gabau and Saurr. It is the responsibility of the older people to look out for the star which is only visible for two to three hours each morning. By the time the yams are ready to harvest the monsoons have passed and much of the vegetation has died off. Finding the yams in the ground is a time consuming and onerous task. They are located by tracing the vines that are now dead and entwined and tangled with other vines and vegetation in trees they have climbed up, several metres away from the yam tuber. Skill and patience is essential, as the vines are brittle and often broken off making the job of tracing the correct vine very difficult. Because it is so time consuming, markers are sometimes left so the person tracking the vine can resume their search at another time. Once the yams are located and dug up the islanders are rewarded with a resource they have enjoyed for centuries and one that has sustained and provided them with a food that is very low in saturated fat and cholesterol and an excellent source of dietary fibre, Vitamin C, Potassium and Manganese. Dugal is depicted in the top left of the print shining through one of the leaves of the withered yam vine. The moon which is also present at this time is shown as the faded circle to the right of Dugal, also shining through the vine and leaves.

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Weight 3 kg
Dimensions 105 × 16 × 16 cm



Dennis Nona

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: Under the House of Art, Brisbane QLD


David Jones




Torres Strait Islands