Important Australian Aboriginal Art
18 March 2020


born ‎1952‎

natural earth pigments on eucalyptus bark‎

130‎.‎0 ‎x ‎71‎.‎0 ‎cm ‎(‎irregular‎)‎

bears inscription verso‎: ‎artist‎'‎s name and Maningrida Arts and Culture cat‎. ‎1948‎-‎09‎

$20‎,‎000 ‎– ‎30‎,‎000‎
Sold for $20,740 (inc. BP) in Auction 60 - 18 March 2020, Melbourne

Maningrida Arts and Culture, Maningrida, Northern Territory (label attached verso)
Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne
Private collection, Melbourne, acquired from the above in March 2012


New Work from Maningrida, Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi in association with Maningrida Arts and Culture, Melbourne, 6 – 31 March 2012

Catalogue text

This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from Maningrida Arts and Culture, Maningrida which states:

‘John Mawurndjul lives at Milmilngkan near a billabong and says that underneath the water lies the power of Ngalyod. In this painting, he depicts the power of the place with rarrk -cross-hatching- which contains Mardayin power.

John Mawurndjul has depicted Milmilngkan place where Ngalyod -the rainbow serpent- resides under the water. Kuninjku people say there are two Rainbow serpents. One is Yingarna who is said to have been the original creator of all ancestral beings, the ‘first mother’. Yingarna’s first born is a Rainbow serpent call Ngaloyd. Yingarna -the Rainbow serpent – or her son Ngalyod are common subject on contemporary Kuninjku bark paintings.

Ngalyod is very important in Kuninjku cosmology and is associated with the creation of all sacred sites, djang, in Kuninjku clan lands. For example, ancestral stories relate how creator or ancestral beings had travelled across the country and had angered Ngalyod who swallowed them and returned to the earth to create the site. Today, Ngalyod protects these sites and its power is present in each one.

Ngalyod has both powers of creation and destruction and is most strongly associated with rain, monsoon seasons and rainbows which are a manifestation of Ngalyod’s power and presence. Ngalyod is associated with the destructive power of the storms and with the plenty of the wet season, being both a destroyer and a giver of life. Ngalyod’s power controls the fertility of the country and the seasons.’