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42

Ginger Riley Munduwalawala

Untitled (Limmen Bight Country), 1990

Property from a Private Collection, Sydney

Ginger Riley Munduwalawala

Ginger Riley Munduwalawala

Untitled (Limmen Bight Country), 1990

Untitled (Limmen Bight Country), 1990

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Property from a Private Collection, Sydney


Ginger Riley Munduwalawala

Circa 1939 - 2002

Untitled (Limmen Bight Country), 1990


Synthetic polymer paint on linen

Bears artist’s name, date ‘October 90’, place of execution ‘Ngukurr/Limmen Bight River’ and Alcaston Gallery catalogue number AWK.3 on the reverse

63 ¼ in by 63 ⅝ in (160.5 cm by 161.5 cm)

This canvas is well stretched with a good stretcher. There re no reinforcements on the reverse. The paint is stable and clean. In the upper right, in the blue color, there is a faintly visible vertical line extending down to the edge of the snake. This doesn't appear to have been retouched and may well be original. Ready to hang as is.


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Painted at Ngukurr in October 1990
Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne (catalogue number AK 855)
Private Collection, Melbourne
Sotheby's, Melbourne, Important Aboriginal Art, 24 June 2002, lot 120, consigned by the above
Private Collection, Sydney, acquired at the above auction

The focus of Ginger Riley Munduwalawala’s art is his mother’s traditional lands where the Limmen Bight River meets the Gulf of Carpentaria; it is, for the artist, ‘a source of inspiration and empowerment…akin to Mont Sainte-Victoire for Paul Cezanne’.1 Munduwalawala was the djungkayi or custodian of that country who fulfilled his duty of caring for it by painting it.


The region is a place created through the interaction of several ancestral beings, chief among them Garimala the Taipan who transforms into the rainbows of the wet seasons, drenching the land in fertilising waters. Garimala also metamorphoses into Bulukbun the fire-breathing dragon shown here, his spines bristling in anger at the transgressions of young ritual initiates. The dragon arcs over the Four Archers, a prominent set of hills which is, according to Munduwalawala ‘the centre of the earth, where all things start and finish’.2 Bulukbun is faced by the white-breasted sea eagle Ngak Ngak, the guardian of the site. By virtue of Munduwalawala’s totemic association with Ngak Ngak, the sea eagle may be considered a proxy for the artist bearing witness to the genesis of the world.


The upper boundary of V-shapes references Marra body painting. Marra is an endangered Australian Aboriginal language, traditionally spoken on an area of the Gulf of Carpentaria coast in the Northern Territory around the Roper, Towns and Limmen Bight Rivers.


Wally Caruana


Judith Ryan, Ginger Riley, Melbourne, 1997, p. 29.

2 Ibid.