Muluka Pyban (Passing Down)
Recent works by Torres Strait Islander Artist Dennis Nona
Dennis Nona Adiew Taab 2009
Etching Paper: 730 x 1610mm $2500
Adiew Taab means Ancient Snake in Kala lagaw Ya, the language of the Western Torres Strait.
The Ancient Snake is seen at night by certain people. When they see a small glow, moving in the far distance that suddenly bursts into a vivid flash of light this is a sighting of the Ancient Snake.
The small glow is the Ancient Snake travelling across the land. The bright flash of light comes out of the snake’s mouth
allowing it to illuminate the surrounding area so it can sight its prey. This is likely to be a pig, dog or bird, those being the
most commonly found animals on the island.
People who encounter the ancient snake are considered fortunate if they acknowledge it in the proper way. However if the
snake is not treated with the reverence it deserves, dire consequences will follow. This could be the death of a family
member or even the person themselves.
If a tragedy does befall a community the cause will often be attributed to the improper acknowledgement by a person
encountering the Ancient Snake.
The snake is described as having hairy eyebrows, and a ginger moustache. These are shown in the artist’s depiction of
Adiew Taab. The stars and moon seen in the body of the snake acknowledge its nocturnal habits. The circular sun like
shape in front of the snake represents the ball of light it releases from its mouth.
Edition size: 45