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Title

Baratjala - lightning and the rock

2018

Artist

Noŋgirrŋa Marawili

Australia

circa 1939 –

Language group: Madarrpa, Arnhem region

  • Details

    Place where the work was made
    Yirrkala North-east Arnhem Land Northern Territory Australia
    Cultural origin
    Madarrpa, Arnhem region
    Date
    2018
    Media category
    Bark painting
    Materials used
    natural pigments on bark
    Dimensions
    201.0 x 85.0 cm
    Credit
    Purchased with funds provided by the Aboriginal Collection Benefactors tour to Arnhem Land 2018
    Location
    20th & 21st c Australian art
    Accession number
    303.2018
    Copyright
    © Noŋgirrŋa Marawili, courtesy Buku-Larrŋgay Mulka Art Centre

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Noŋgirrŋa Marawili

    Works in the collection

    25

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  • About

    The art centre documentation for this work states;

    “Some of the designs show the rock set in deep water between the electric ‘curse’ that the snake spits into the sky in the form of lightning, and the spray of the sea trying to shift the immovable rock foundation of the Madarrpa. Yurr’yunna is the word used to describe the rough waves overtopping the rock and the spray flying into the sky. It is said that the serpents ‘spit’ lightning - ‘guykthun’. The extended meaning of ‘guykthun' though includes “make something sacred or taboo through saying ‘magic words’. In our language we ‘swear’ an ‘oath’ which sanctifies the speech but both words can also mean to utter profanities. We also understand that ‘curse’ can mean bad language but also a spell. The Top End has one of the world’s greatest number of lightning strikes at this time of year. These works show the sanctifying words being spat across the sky in lightning form. The lightning’s sacred power hits the sea spray rising from where it has just smashed into the rock. The energies captured in this painting are almost a match for those in the real life of a Top End wet season.
    This journey from the sacred to the descriptive shifts in this work. She has reduced the Law to its elements unclothed in sacred design. Her identity cannot be separated from her art and so although she disavows any sacred intent the echo of miny’tji persists.”

  • Places

    Where the work was made

    Yirrkala

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition

Other works by Noŋgirrŋa Marawili

See all 25 works