Koori Shields Series

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My Spirit Belongs Here - Country and Kin

Koori Shields pays respect to five of the Koori clans or tribes of Victoria through my own interpretation of shield designs.

My work represents the land itself.

HERB PATTEN Brabralung Gunai/Kurnai


GUNAI/KURNAI SHIELD
I am a descendant, through my Mother’s side, of the Brabralung tribe of the Gunai/Kurnai nation. The two white lines that run from the top to the bottom represent the flow of the Mitchell and Tambo Rivers. The designs are taken from my clan’s possum skin cloaks and from scarred tree markings.


YORTA YORTA SHIELD
Through my Father’s side, I am also a descendant of the Yorta Yorta clan. This shield is derived from a Yorta Yorta shield held at Museum Victoria. It symbolises my Father’s Country, with the browns and greys representing the colours of the Barmah forest and the scrubland along the Murray River.


KIRRAE WURRUNG/GUNDITJMARA SHIELD
This work pays respect to my wife, Lorraine Bunta Patten, a descendant of the Kirrae Wurrung clan of the Gunditjmara nation. The designs are mostly taken from the Lake Condah possum skin cloak and the diamond patterns from Gunditjmara shields. The circle design represents the volcano lakes and stone huts of the Western District.


WURUNDJERI SHIELD
This shield pays respect to the Wurundjeri clan and Wurundjeri Elder, Joy Wandin Murphy, honouring the traditional custodians of this land. The central zigzag patterns are from scarred trees along the Yarra River and Darebin Creek. The side patterns represent the freshwater mussel shell middens around Port Phillip Bay.


LATJI LATJI SHIELD
This work is a mark of respect for Trevor (Turbo) Brown, a descendant of the Latji Latji clan. The diamonds represent the brown clay pans along the Murray River that lead into the desert landscape. The other shapes represent the changing colours of the earth around the Mallee and Wimmera districts.

Detail

Herb Patten
Brabralung/Gunai/Kurnai
Born 1943

Koori Shields series
2005
Earth pigments, synthetic polymer paint and oil paint on plywood
Each 119.5 cm long
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased through the NGV Foundation with funds donated by Catherine Allen, Member, 2005

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