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Hey, Papa and I saw some posts today. Papa says that, one day, in the very distant future, he would like to have one. So, what were they?
We had been exploring the Art Gallery of New South Wales here in Sydney, Australia. I said, “Hey, Papa, look at those funny posts sticking up out of the floor.” He looked and said, “Solbit, good eye. I think you’ve found something worth a look.”
We stopped at the posts, found a description of them, and I learned that what looked “funny” to me was what looked “serious, important, and profound” to others. Why?
Well, they were grave posts, not funny looking sticks. I need to learn to be more respectful, especially when I don’t know what I’m talking about.
Yeah, I learned that the Tiwi people on Melville Island made posts like these to remember family and friends who have died. Those posts were only made of special blackwood that’s reserved for ceremonies and are called Tutuni or Pukumani graveposts.
These grave posts for exhibit at the art gallery were not made of blackwood but of ironwood. Seventeen senior Tiwi (aboriginal) artists were invited to make 17 of these posts. That’s the first time aboriginal art went on exhibit at an art gallery, way back in 1958.
Aren’t they beautiful? Papa said that these grave markers sure do look a lot better than those stone markers we usually see back home.
The sign said, “The Pukumani ceremony is unique to Tiwi. It is a ‘final goodbye’, with singing and dancing accompanying the placement of Tutuni around the gravesite. The first Pukumani ceremony was led by Tiwi ancestor Purukuparli for his baby, Jinani, who was the first person to die; as a result, today all Tiwi must follow his fate.”
Papa said, “No grave stone for me, please, Solbit; I want one of those when I die.” I asked, “Can we sing and dance, too, Papa?” He said, “Solbit, I would like that.”
I said, “So, Papa, when will that be?” He asked, “When will what be?” “You know, when will you die so we can sing and dance?” Papa laughed and said, “I hope sometime in the very distant future, Solbit, but you never know, so live life to the fullest now.”
I said, “OK, I will.” Actually, I think he was talking to himself and not to me, because, being a plastic Jurassic, I’m not going to die.
My color might fade a bit, but it seems like plastic is forever. I hear that is an environmental problem. Someone will have to solve that problem. Maybe you will, if you become a scientist. Right?
I’m your friend.
- You may be asking yourself, “Who is Solbit?” Solbit is a fictional character, but she is a real plastic dinosaur, sent to us unsolicited in a package we ordered from Photojojo. So, she’s a plastic jurassic. Solbit is short for the four names given her by our grandchildren: Sparkle, Orangie, Lulu, Breakit. We tend to use her given names for when she’s been naughty. Thank you for visiting Tales of a Plastic Jurassic. Solbit likes company and hopes you’ll come back.
- You can learn more about Solbit at her About page and in the earlier posts, “Solbit: How I Got My Name” and “Solbit: How I Got to Travel.”