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Australian Aboriginal Bark Painting Western Arnhem Land


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Collection No. TB-2758
Size 92cm x 41.5cm
Australian Aboriginal Bark Painting Western Arnhem Land
Australian Aboriginal Bark Painting Western Arnhem Land
Australian Aboriginal Bark Painting Western Arnhem Land
Australian Aboriginal Bark Painting Western Arnhem Land

This beautiful Bark Painting is from the Western Arnhem Land area of the Northern Territory of Australia.

Dating from the 1970s and depicting the rare image of a female Namarrkon Lightning Spirit, there are both Male and Female Namarrkon the lightning Spirit but females are by far rarer.

Namarrkon is the lightning spirit, the source of the fierce tropical storms in Western Arnhem Land during the wet season. During the dry season, they live in a billabong not far from Numbuwah, a sacred rock in Western Arnhem Land. They only venture out occasionally to hunt for food around his lagoon. In the wet season, Namarrkon lives among the storm clouds. They sit in the clouds looking down and watching the people below. This is the time they get angry and creates flashes of lightning, loud thunder, and then torrential rain. From late October his thunder signals bush food is ready to harvest. This is the start of the ‘build-up’ season before the proper rains come.

Namarrkon’ s presence gets stronger through the wet season. In January and February Namarrkon strikes trees and splits them with his axes – causing lightning. Their presence and hence the monsoon season subside in early March. They make lightning flashes with lightning rods that go around his body. These flashes extend from his ears to his genitals. No one ventures near this lagoon or touches the bush food near Namarrkon’ s camp. They remain undisturbed and happy and only growls in his ‘thunder voice’ if someone comes too close.

Provenance: The Todd Barlin Collection of Oceanic and Australian Aboriginal rt