“Obalow” is my totem and lives in my traditional country. My country is fresh water country: the upper Holroyd River. I call it “kunnganga” in Wik Mungkan Language. My grand father and father taught me about obalows. They are people half human and half fish. They wail, cry and sing. It sounds like a beautiful whale song. They are there you can see them. If they smell your scent they will go back into the water and hide. They are very shy and are both male and female. Males have larger scales. White people call them mermaids. One of the old people an ancestor speared one. She was beautiful and the warrior kidnapped her and took her back to his camp. The other people mocked him for capturing one. Later he performed magic that changed her to completely human. He performed magic using an “ohda”. This is a shell of a seed that looks like a women’s vagina. He burnt it then magically threw it the midpoint where fish and human flesh meet. That spot magically turned into a vagina. After the change she urinated. This was the first time she ever had to so. That part of her body had always been fish. After the urinating she grew legs and feet and could walk. The warrior kept her away from rivers and wetlands. If she entered the water she would turn back into an Obalow. She lived with the humans many years and learned their language. She was accepted as one of them. One day she saw women from camp wading in water gathering lily roots. She waded into the water using her feet to feel around for muscles. She waded in deeper and her scent went into the water. Other Obalows smelled her came and took her away. The warrior missed her and mourned day and night till he died.
Artist: Christine Holroyd
Ghost Net scultpure 40 by 168cm
Price includes postage in Australia
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