Joey Nganjmirra

Artwork Description

Acrylic Paint on paper

Signed with a certificate of authenticity.

The nawaran is a rare snake that is only found in the Oenpelli region. Non-indigenous Australians first discovered it in the 1970’s. It is greyish in colour with distinctive marking making it easy to identify. The nawaran is a non-venomous snake that can grow to massive lengths. It is able to dislocate its jaws enabling it to swallow prey much larger than itself.
This story comes from counrty near Markarrlarrl, in Arnhem Land, called Kudjaborrk.
Ngalyangdo (mother) of Bellinj skin and her son of Bangardi skin were in the stone counrty hunting with their two duruk, Nabokarnwowk (male) and Kukalal (female). They came across a nawaran (Oenpelli rock python) and thinking it an ordinary snake killed it and roasted it on the fire and they both ate it. Unknowingly they had just killed a sacred dreaming nawaran. Moments later many nawaran came down from the stone escarpment and attacked and killed the mother and son as punishment for killing the nawaran.

Kunwinjku art is part of the oldest continuous art tradition in the world. Ancestors of today’s artists have been painting the rock walls of West Arnhem Land for tens of thousands of years. The traditional palette of white, red, yellow and black comes from the ochre that naturally occurs in the region, although contemporary artists sometimes choose to paint in acrylics as well. Kunwinjku artists famously paint using either the traditional rarrk hatching technique, or the more contemporary and complex cross hatching technique which has been adapted from ceremonial painting. These lines are painted using a manyilk, which is a piece of sedge grass shaved down until only a few fibres remain.

Artists at Injalak Art Centre have been painting on Arches 640gsm handmade watercolour paper since it was introduced as a medium by American art collecter John W. Kluge in 1990 when he commissioned a suite of paintings for the Kluge-Ruhe Collection at the University of Virginia, USA. It is archival quality and has an organic texture that mimics the natural surface of bark, making it an excellent alternative in West Arnhem Land where trees suitable for bark harvesting are much sparser than other areas of the Top End of Australia.

This painting needs to be framed. It’s also being sent direct from the artist at a remote art centre, Injalak Arts, in the top end. Please note there is only one mail plane a week that takes the artwork to Gunbalanya. The tracking information is then received a week later when the mail plane returns so often the paintings are delivered before we receive the tracking information. Please expect a slightly longer wait for this very special artwork to arrive.


Acrylic on Arches paper

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Unframed (requires framing)

This artwork is unframed and requires framing.

Aboriginal Art, Animals Art

Joey Nganjmirra

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