Tupmul is one of five main species of stingray found in the waters around the artist’s island of Badu. Augadal is the word for totem or clan.
The five shells represent the members of the Tupmul clan who are sitting in a Kwod discussing men’s business. The Kwod was like a parliament or special meeting of important members who belonged to the same group. This group would include a chief or Kuikumaibaig and sorcerers or Puilaig.
The Tupmul are one of five main clans on Badu Island. The others are Umai or Dog, Koedal or Crocodile, Dhangal or Dugong and Samu or Cassowary. A Kwod comprising these five totems would also meet to discuss broader issues relating to the entire island community.
Tupmul is one of a number of species of stingray found in the waters surrounding Badu Island. These are Awoin, Guer, Pelcup, Pukai and Ngowrang. They all vary in size and colour and have their own unique habits and habitats. Tupmul is a grey blue colour and is distinguished by having no fins on its tail unlike the other species.
The only stingray clan on Badu is Tupmul. However other stingray species are totems of people on neighbouring Torres Strait Islands.