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National Museum of Australia

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Emu egg carved with an image of Tony Mundine by Bill Reid

2007.0025.0047

Emu egg carved with an image of Tony Mundine by Bill Reid

Object information

Description

This emu egg shows an engraved image of Anthony "Tony" Mundine. a well know identity in the Australian boxing industry. The opposite side shows a hunting scene of Aboriginal men persuing kangaroos.

Physical description

An emu egg that is hollow. There is a panel around middle of the egg that is engraved. The egg has two panels, one that features an outline of a portrait of Tony Mundine, and the other is a hunting scene of men spearing kangaroos. There is a small round plastic stand glued to the bottom of the egg.

Statement of significance

The Bill Reid - John Cawte Collection comprises a series of emu eggs carved by William 'Bill' Reid (1917 -1993), a renowned Gamilaraay artist from northern-central NSW. The collection contains sixteen emu eggs - fourteen carved, one partly carved and one uncarved. They feature representations of Truganinni, Mum Shirl, the Ella brothers, Bill Reid, Albert Namatjiria and Tony Mundine, Alva Reid - Bill Reid's daughter, as well as John Cawte and Betty Watts (John Cawte's wife).
The collection also includes Reid's innovative system for internally illuminating each carved egg, consisting of a light stand on a circular cork board with a plastic batten holder and cord, sixteen plastic batten holders, sixteen switch cases, sixteen "push button or bell press" mechanisms, a tungsten 15 watt clear light bulb, seventeen plastic "Café HAG" coffee jar lids.

The collection is significant as constituting a rare series of representations of prominent Indigenous people and other figures undertaken by a renowned Aboriginal artist. As a set of carved emu eggs it is also an important contribution to the National Museum's collection of 20th century Indigenous craft objects. The collection compliments an existing NHC collection of six carved eggs depicting prominent Indigenous figures also carved by Reid.

Object information

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