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The Man from Maningrida

This man saw me photographing him from a distance, and offered to let me take his portrait for $2.

 

I was somewhat shocked because after six days in the Outback, heat exhaustion, and the generally hallucinatory vibe of taking a bus across half the length of a continent, here was a guy who spontaneously asked for $2 for his portrait, and all I could think was $2 portrait project!

 

I asked him his name, and he said it was Maningrida. Somewhat intoxicated, he explained that he made his living selling didgeridoos and Aboriginal art, which he motioned to. I asked for the story of the piece behind him, but he was only able to tell me something vague about it being about the Rainbow Serpent (one of the elements of the Aboriginal Creation myth?).

 

As I was processing the photos from the trip and reviewing my notes, I discovered that "Maningrida" is actually a settlement in Aboriginal territory -- so when I asked his name, I actually got where he was from.

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Taken on September 11, 2008