Limmen Bight River Country
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]
Places where the work was made
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
© The Estate of Ginger Riley. Courtesy of Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne.
Where the work was made
Shown in 5 exhibitions
Gamarada, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 15 Nov 1996–16 Feb 1997
ADDING - The Blue Pacific, Ivan Dougherty Gallery, Paddington, 01 Aug 1998–29 Aug 1998
Biennale of Sydney 2000, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 26 May 2000–30 Jul 2000
The Dreamers (2009-10), Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 09 May 2009–15 Aug 2010
Flight Paths: The bird in Australian Art, Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery, Mornington, 02 Dec 2016–12 Feb 2017
Referenced in 9 publications
Edmund Capon AM, OBE, 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., Contemporary Aboriginal art: The Mollie Gowing acquisition fund, 'Gifted Contemporary Aboriginal Art: The Mollie Gowing acquisition fund', Sydney, 2006, (colour illus.). not paginated
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.
Judith Ryan, Look, 'The boss of colour', pg. 16, Sydney, Nov 2002, 16 (colour illus.).