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England Banggala

(Australia circa 1925 – Dec 2001)

Language group
Burarra, Arnhem region
Wangarra Spirit Being
Place of origin
Central Arnhem LandNorthern TerritoryAustralia
circa 1986
Media category
Materials used
ochre on carved wood

267.0 x 15.0 x 11.0 cm

Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Gift of Dr Peter Elliott 1993
Accession number
© England Banggala. Licensed by Viscopy, Australia
Not on display
Further information

This devil spirit called wangarra, inhabits the An-ngiliny clan waterhole called Wangarra A-juwana. This is a dense patch of jungle with a network of creeks that is adjoined by the two large billabongs called Boporlinymarr and Birduk Mu-yerrnyjiya.

The painting depicts five wangarra figures and four rocks which lie inside the water at Wangarra A-juwana. Across the centre of the painting is a band which represents a small creek that runs through Wangarra A-juwana. Two of the wangarra spirits share one arm; this represents the water running from the little creeks, flowing out into all corners of the patch of jungle.

On the edge of the water at Wangarra A-juwana stands a huge banyan tree. The wangarra spirits live inside this tree. At times the tree opens up, and the wangarra spirits come out and go down into the water where they lie inside the rocks. The spirits can lure and trap people inside the banyan tree, which is one reason why Wangarra A-juwana is a dangerous place for those who do not have the right authority to go there. Whan Banggala enters this place he calls out to his ancestors to identify himself as a rightful member of the An-nguliny clan, so that he and his companians are protected from the spirits that live there.

Australian Art Department, AGNSW, 2000

Bibliography (2)

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

Hetti Perkins and Ken Watson, A material thing - objects from the collection, Sydney, 1999, 6.

Exhibition history (2)

Recent Acquisitions of Aboriginal Art, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 05 Jul 1993–12 Sep 1993

Biennale of Sydney 2000, Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia, 26 May 2000–30 Jul 2000