From our team here at NGV, we would like to express our very best wishes to our community at this time. We are currently closed to the public and will reopen on Saturday, 27 June, 2020.

In line with Victorian Chief Health Officer’s guidance, the NGV will implement a variety of public health and physical distancing measures including free timed ticketing, appropriate queue management and increased deep cleaning of facilities, as well as increased hand sanitiser stations.

We encourage you to continue to visit our website and follow #NGVEveryDay on social media for updates on our reopening and daily inspiration.

We are very grateful for the loyalty of the NGV community and look forward to welcoming you back soon.


Rover Thomas Dreamtime story of the willy willy 1989

Rover Thomas
Dreamtime story of the willy willy 1989

This painting shows the ancestral path of miowin, a willy-willy or spiralling dust storm, indicated by the red-ochre glyph unleashed on the matte, white surface of the land and rising into the sky. The storm began as a murmur, in the upper right, and kept increasing in size and velocity as it moved through Jaru Country until it reached badangu ngapa (the main waterhole), shown enclosed by the spiral. Here the willy-willy was consumed by Garagi, the Rainbow Serpent, who is associated with storms in the Kimberley region.


The work reveals that Thomas’s intention is to distil and reveal what lies within the order of things rather than replicate through mimesis the concrete surface or physical appearance of the natural world. He is not concerned with mirroring nature or with using his brush as a camera; rather, he reveals a deep spiritual affinity with the land and the sacred narratives it holds.