Collection Online
earth pigments on Stringybark (Eucalyptus sp.)
310.6 × 110.0 cm
Place/s of Execution
Yirrkala, Northern Territory
Accession Number
Indigenous Art
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased, NGV Supporters of Indigenous Art, 2016
© Nonggirrnga Marawili, courtesy of Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Centre, Yirrkala
Gallery location
Gallery 13
Level 3, NGV Australia
This work represents Baratjula, the Madarrpa clan estate adjacent to Cape Shield where the Mundukul, the Lightning Snake lives deep beneath the sea. The artist shows the sacred 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 people. In a radical departure, Nonggirrnga stripped away much of the crosshatching applied to the background with the marwat (human-hair brush), paring back the imagery, so it stands stark.