Hedley Brian, from Maningrida on the north coast of Arnhem Land, creates ceremonial hollow tree sculptures that are known as 'Lorrkon' or 'Larrakitj'. The 'Lorrkon', as referred to in Brian’s particular region, are made from the Stringybark tree (Eucalyptus tetradonta) which is native to Arnhem Land. These trees are naturally hollowed out in the forests by termites, then are cut and decorated with totemic emblems. Each pattern describes a particular estate such as the ocean, estuary, beach, forest or floodplain. Brian uses the rich Ochre pigment to render his intricate patterning.
Historically, the presenting of a 'Lorrkon' was the final ceremony in a sequence of mortuary rituals celebrated by the people of Arnhem Land. This ceremony involves the placing of the deceased’s bones into a hollow log which was decorated with painted clan designs and ceremonially placed into the ground where it remained until it slowly decayed over many years. Today the 'Lorrkon' are specifically made as fine art works that pay homage to these traditions.
Brian’s work is part of numerous gallery and private collections in both Australia and the United States.