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Contemporary art

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art

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Waterhole at Barlparnarra



Terry Ngamandarra Wilson


1950 -

Language groups

Gun-nartpa, Arnhem region, Burarra, Arnhem region


The Maningrida Arts and Culture documentation for the work states:

"The artist has depicted waterholes, called rralala, represented by the four symmetrically placed circular shapes dominating the painting, and a creek, called merndagijirra, depicted by the central horizontal band, at a place called Burlupurr A-yurra.

This site is part of the large swamp called Barlparnarra. The swamp lies to the north west of Gochan Jiny-jirra, where Ngamandarra lives.

Ngamandarra is a senior custodian for Barlparnarra, which is a complex of important sacred sites for the Jowunga moiety group throughout central Arnhem Land. It is associated with the creation myth of the two sisters, which has a number of versions celebrated throughout Arnhem Land. The sisters of commonly known as Djang’kawu, but in the Barlparnarra version they are called Murlurlu. Many dreaming tracks of mythological beings associated with the two sisters converge at this site and ceremonies which celebrate their journeys are still held there.

Burlupurr A-yurra is a dry season camp, where there is water all year round. The name means 'where the dilly bag lies', which is a reference to the dillybags carried by the Murlurlu as she traversed the swamp country.
When discussing the swamp with the artist, he remarked that in order to go there for water one must first talk to the Wangarra spirits to gain their permission."

© Australian Art Department, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2005




Media category

Bark painting

Materials used

natural earth pigments on eucalyptus bark


65.0 x 42.0 cm


Purchased with funds provided by the Aboriginal Collection Benefactors' Group 2005


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Terry Ngamandarra Wilson

Works in the collection



Where the work was made

Shown in 2 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 1 publication


Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales annual report 2006, 'Year in review: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art', pg. 23-25, Sydney, 2006, 24.