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Collection

Unknown

(Australia  – )

Title
The rainbow serpent Narama and her sons
Place of origin
Gunbalanya (Oenpelli)Western Arnhem LandNorthern TerritoryAustralia
Year
(1948)
Media category
Painting
Materials used
natural pigments on paper on cardboard
Dimensions

58.2 x 45.0 cm image/sheet; 76.0 x 63.4 x 3.0 cm frame

Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Credit
Gift of the Commonwealth Government 1956
Accession number
9278
Location
Not on display
Further information

The rainbow serpent, Narama, lives with her sons among rocks at the mouth of the Liverpool River in central Arnhem Land. If disturbed by strangers (i.e. non-countrymen) she 'bites' their spirit, killing them. When first angered, she huffs and snorts, then reveals herself in the form of a rainbow.

from Hetti Perkins et al., 'Crossing country: the alchemy of Western Arnhem Land art', Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 2004

Bibliography (4)

Jonathan Jones, Mountford Gifts: Works from the American-Australian scientific expedition to Arnhem Land 1948, 'Mountford Gifts: Works from the American-Australian scientific expedition to Arnhem Land 1948', pg. 1-5, Sydney, 2009, 3, 4.

Margo Neale, Yiribana: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander collection, Sydney, 1994, 26 (colour illus.), 136, 139. plate no. 9

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

Hetti Perkins, Crossing country: the alchemy of western Arnhem Land art, Sydney, 2004, 143 (colour illus.), 230.

Exhibition history (5)

Gamarada, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 15 Nov 1996–16 Feb 1997

Bulada, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 23 Aug 1997–14 Dec 1997

A material thing - Objects from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 31 Aug 1998–09 Feb 1999

Crossing country: the alchemy of Western Arnhem Land art, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 24 Sep 2004–12 Dec 2004

Mountford Gifts: Works from the American Australian scientific expedition to Arnhem Land 1948, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 21 Mar 2009–03 Jun 2009