Collection Online
synthetic polymer paint on canvas
207.7 × 670.8 cm
Place/s of Execution
Napperby, Northern Territory
Accession Number
Indigenous Art
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Felton Bequest, 1988
© artists and their estates 2011, licensed by Aboriginal Artists Agency Limited and Papunya Tula Artists Pty Ltd
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of The Vizard Foundation
Gallery location
Gallery 13
Level 3, NGV Australia
About the work

Tim Leura Tjapaltjarri grew up with his family in Napperby, the ancestral country of his family, but was exiled from this country when it was appropriated from the Anmatyerre people as a pastoral station. He moved to the government settlement of Papunya with his wife and children in the 1960s, and was a founding contributor of the Papunya Tula artist cooperative. He created Spirit Dreaming through Napperby Country 1980 with assistance from Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri.

This large painting on canvas was originally intended to be used in a film about the Western Desert. It shows the Death Spirit, indicated by a human skeleton, walking along a central travelling path.

The painting is like a map showing places where Anmatyerre people lived, hunted, ate, fought and rested. Tim Leura’s life as an artist is reflected in the small replicas of his early paintings shown as windows in the work. The background dotting shows the landscape: grass, sand, earth, leaves, smoke and tracks with footprints. The presence of hunters is shown by the spear, boomerangs, woomera and shield.