Gunybi GANAMBARR, Lorr Enlarge 1 /1


Datiwuy/Ngaymil peoples

Rorruwuy Homelands, Eastern Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia born 1973

Lorr 2010 Place made: Yirrkala, North East Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia
Materials & Technique: paintings, natural earth pigments on incised air cell insulation

Dimensions: 120.0 h x 111.0 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 2012
Accession No: NGA 2012.945

More detail


This is a painting by Ngaymil artist Gunybi Ganambarr (b.1973) depicting the ancestral Lightening Snake rising up at the start of the wet season in eastern Arnhem Land at the time when freshwater meets saltwater and the Lighting Snake spits lightening across the sky. The painting is shown as an enlargeable image. This work was exhibited in the 2013 exhibition Creating Worlds, at the National Gallery of Australia that explored artists’ responses to issues of sustainability and the natural environment. The Gallery’s Creating Worlds website gives more information. The painting measures 120.0 cm high x 111.0 cm wide and is painted with natural earth pigments on incised air cell insulation.

Educational value

  • This is a useful resource for the Responding strand in all year bands of the visual arts curriculum. It provides a valuable opportunity for students to use their developing conceptual understandings and skills in critical analysis to respond to an Australian Aboriginal artwork displaying clan designs shimmering with the energy of the ancestral being. The work may also be useful for the ‘Water and the world’ unit of study in year 7 geography. Interpretation of some of its multi-layered meanings supports content descriptions about the forms of water, the way it flows to connect places, and its value for Aboriginal people.
  • This painting is of considerable significance for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures and the Sustainability cross-curriculum priorities. Ganambarr’s work is founded in his Ngaymil clan’s connection to its Sea Country and their belief system that spiritually connects the people to land, sea, sky and waterways. The worldview of the clans of the Yolngu peoples is that everything is connected to everything else and that everything is interdependent. This sustainability worldview imbues Ganambarr’s actions including his use of materials such as pieces of insulation discarded by mining companies.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra