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Contemporary art

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art

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Limmen Bight River Country





circa 1936 - 01 Sep 2002

Language group

Marra, Gulf region


Traditional in subject matter and experimental in style, the paintings of Ginger Riley Munduwalawala are impressive pictorial presences, not least because of their scale and dramatic colour schemes. As an elder of his community, the artist is entrusted with the preservation of aspects of the stories of his mother's people at Four Arches, 45 kilometres inland from Limmen Bight in the Gulf of Carpentaria.Limmen Bight country is the landscape depicted in this stately retelling of the story of the first being, a kangaroo, shown in solitary grandeur at the bottom of Riley's successively layered composition. In order to populate the world, it was the task of this being to find himself a mate. Garimala, an ancestral snake, recommended he seek out a young girl, a quest which leads the kangaroo into many deprivations and dangers. The near-fatal spearing shown in the second register was probably in punishment for his trespass on the territory of another clan. The hump-like landforms which characterise the work, and Limmen Bight itself, are believed to have resulted from the writhings of the great serpents whose appearance in this painting, and elsewhere in Aboriginal art, is significantly hieratic.

[AGNSW Handbook 1999]


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Other Title




Media category


Materials used

synthetic polymer paint on canvas


243.5 x 243.5 x 3.7 cm stretcher

Signature & date

Signed l.l. corner , red synthetic polymer paint "GINGER RILEY". Not dated.


Mollie Gowing Acquisition Fund for Contemporary Aboriginal Art 1992


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information


Artist profile

Works in the collection



Where the work was made
Northern Territory

Shown in 4 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 9 publications


Edmund Capon, Art Gallery of New South Wales: highlights from the collection, Sydney, 2008, 40, 41 (colour illus.).

Jonathan Cooper (Editor), The Art Gallery of New South Wales Bulletin, 'Yiribana Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Gallery', pg. 6-9, Sydney, Apr 1995-May 1995, 8 (colour illus.).

Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Australian Collection: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art', pg. 208-241, Sydney, 1999, 233 (colour illus.).

Ewen McDonald, AGNSW Collections, 'From Colonialism to late Modernism', pg. 7-106, Sydney, 1994, 104 (colour illus.).

Ewen McDonald (Editor), Biennale of Sydney 2000, Sydney, 2000. no catalogue numbers

Margo Neale, Yiribana: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander collection, Sydney, 1994, 48, 49 (colour illus.), 137, 139. plate no. 21

Hetti Perkins, Art + soul: a journey into the world of Aboriginal art, 'Bitter + sweet’, pg. 173-265, Carlton, 2010, 242-243 (colour illus.), 244 (colour illus., detail), 282.

Hetti Perkins., Contemporary Aboriginal art: The Mollie Gowing acquisition fund, 'Gifted Contemporary Aboriginal Art: The Mollie Gowing acquisition fund', Sydney, 2006, (colour illus.). not paginated

Judith Ryan, Look, 'The boss of colour', pg. 16, Sydney, Nov 2002, 16 (colour illus.).