David MALANGI DAYMIRRINGU | Brown snakes

Australia 1927 – 1999
Brown snakes
four striped parallel snakes vertically aligned up bark c.1963
Bark Painting
natural pigments on eucalyptus bark
62.5 (h) x 39.5 (w) cm
Founding Donors Fund 1984 National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
NGA 1985.1323
© David Malangi. Licensed by VISCOPY, Australia
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One day, Gurrmirringu was carrying home the fruits of a good day’s hunting when he rested by a waterhole in the shade of a wurrumbuku [white berry tree] to cook some of his catch. Some stories record that an evil spirit lurked in the trees roots causing a king brown snake to rise from the roots and bite Gurrmirringu, killing him.

The evil tree spirit was an occasional subject of Malangi’s. The evil connotation was expressed in painting by a beaked and clawed diagonal figure and jagged forms merging with the gnarled tree forms.

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