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Dale Hunter / The Dilly Bag

77cm x 60cm Acrylic on Tasmanian Blackwood

SKU: DH-27


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SKU: DH-27 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.

Gunhi and Migay – mother and young woman – are travelling at night because of the extreme temperatures experienced in the Australian outback. This learned woman has attained the upper echelons of Aboriginal hierarchy evidenced by the scaring on her body. The ornate dilly bay displays her incredible skill as a weaver. Australian aborigines are renowned for their basketry and woven dilly bags.

Dilly bags were used for various purposes; carrying water or honey, prized possessions, ritualistic ornaments, fire and even the relocated remains of loved ones.

The red mountain in the background represents the Rainbow Serpent, who, if angered, would wander the land in search of aborigines to eat! It would come into their camps and devour the aborigines who strayed from the teachings of our ancestral beings. The red mountain has aborigines in its belly.

Dreaming stories were often told to children to protect them from danger such as deep waterholes, cliff edges and dangerous caves. The glowing moon is representational of the astrological knowledge used by aborigines to determine where they were on the landscape.

This painting is branded with the number 27 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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