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Dale Hunter / Burbung

31cm x 104cm Acrylic on Tasmanian Blackwood

SKU: DH-28


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SKU: DH-28 Category: Brand: . Artist:

In Dale’s words: I am an identified aborigine who was born in Melbourne Victoria in 1959. My family are from the Wiradjuri mob in NSW. I would like to acknowledge that my art respects the power of the ancestral beings, expresses individual and group identity, and the relationship between people and the land.

Dale Hunter who was born in Victoria in 1959, her family are from the Wiradjuri mob in NSW and she currently lives in Tasmania. Dale has a Fine Art Degree from the University of Tasmania, she also has a teaching degree as well as a Graduate Certificate in TESOL. She currently works as a school teacher at Cape Barren Island Aboriginal School.

Dale says that painting the Aboriginal image on Tasmanian Blackwood creates a cultural connection with our mother the earth. The Blackwood manifests a hologram effect transcending time and place. Representational paintings of the indigenous body is the fundamental theme in her work.

Dale’s husband mills the timber from their 350 acre property near St Helens in Tasmania. He resurrects dead Blackwood trees and turns them into a truly beautiful sculptural piece. After using acrylics to paint the wood, each piece is then varnished several times to enhance the natural grain of the Blackwood. Forged metal hangers are created individually for each unique and collectable piece of art.

The Blackwood, which has absorbed the passing of time, actively participates in the transmission of myths and symbolism. Dale’s artwork moves away from traditional dot painting.

• Fine Art Degree from the University of Tasmania. Major Art Theory – Aboriginal Art Practice and Culture
• Bachelor of Teaching, Deakin University
• Graduate Certificate Teaching English Second Other Language (TESOL), University of Wollongong
• Currently employed at St Helens District High School as a teacher

• Solo exhibition University Tasmania Plimsoll Gallery, 2005
• Assistant to Gloria Petyarre and Barbara Weir Art Mob, 2006
• Exhibitor Tasmania Art Fair 2001, 2002, 2003
• Private art teacher 10 years St Helens 2000-2010


I would like to acknowledge that my art respects the power of the ancestral beings, expresses individual and group identity, and the relationship between people and the land.

This painting depicts a party. A Burbung is a ceremony where neighbouring Aboriginal nations -those that were friendly- would gather to celebrate boy’s transitions to manhood. These ‘parties’ took many months’ preparation with invitees arriving with offerings of food and decorations for the ‘Burai’s’ initiations.

The burbung ground was prepared by clearing and marking trees and great circles were created in the soil. Once the invited guests arrived the ceremonies would begin. Camp’s were made with each group facing their country.

Burbungs were seasonal gatherings in order to provide food, such as Bogong moths, bush potatos, yams, seeds etc. Food had to be in plentiful supply for these gatherings as aborigines could travel for hundreds of kilometers to attend.

The Burai’s were decorated with body paint and ornaments and were often given a permanent symbol on their bodies to show that they had been initiated into adult life. The removal of a tooth, body scaring or piercing through either the nose or ears proved an initiate worthy of higher attainment.

The colourful boarder in the background represents the many different nations attending this Burbung.

This painting is branded with the number 28 on the back and signed by the artist.

Blackwood in Aboriginal Culture ~ Blackwood Acacia melanoxylon

The fine hard wood of this wattle made strong spear-throwers, boomerangs, clubs and shields in parts of Tasmania and Victoria. Aborigines used to soak the bark in water to bathe painful joints. A powerful analgesic can also be derived from the Blackwood tree. The hard wood was also used to make shields and woomeras, whilst the inner bark was used to make string. The tree’s twigs and its bark were also used to stupefy fish as a way of fishing. Leaves and branches were often placed in fishing areas thus stunning the fish and making then a very easy catch.

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