Jonathon Toby

Dancing Brolga Lady - 2014

91 x 61 cm

Acrylic on Belgian linen


"This is about the skin totem of the Balaringi people. The brolgas were having a corroboree over at Gubula outstation. They sent the women out to get ready for the big night. But while they were out, those men they sang those songs to charm them so when they came back they would want them. Two jabirus came up to the corroboree and wanted to dance. The brolgas said, 'No. You go away. You long beak. You black and white and red beak means danger. We don't paint-up with black and white paint, with charcoal.' 'Oh! Please can we join in.' But those brolgas said, 'No! You can't paint-up like us. You got black beak. We grey.'
'But we both got long legs!' 'Yes, but you got black legs, we got red legs. You go away.' That's why today the brolgas all travel in groups and the jabiru he always alone. That's a true story that. So after a night of singing and dancing at the corroboree the men took their women out to the coast and the jabirus went alone."