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National Museum of Australia

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Painting no. 15, Rainbow Serpent story by Dick Roughsey - Goorialla tears the mountain to pieces and hurls it all over the country

2006.0077.0015

Painting no. 15, Rainbow Serpent story by Dick Roughsey - Goorialla tears the mountain to pieces and hurls it all over the country

Object information

Physical description

An oil painting on board in a wood and white coloured frame. The painting is set against an orange-pink and grey skyline, and depicts the horned rainbow serpent entwined around the summit of a tall rocky outcrop with parts exploding outwards and up into the sky. In the foreground of the painting, a large group of men holding three pronged spears are running away from the destruction that is taking place above them. The word 'WARRENBY' appears in the lower right hand corner of the painting while the word 'GOOBALATHALDIN' appears in the lower left. On the reverse of the painting, '# 15' is written in black marker on the top middle of the frame.

Statement of significance

The Dick Roughsey Rainbow Serpent collection consists of 16 works produced for the children's book 'The Rainbow Serpent' (1975) by Lardil artist Dick Roughsey (Goobalathaldin).

The rainbow serpent is an important ancestral being in Indigenous communities and emerged in ancestral stories and related manifestations for the first time some 3,000 to 6,000 years ago. 'The Rainbow Serpent' won a Children's Picture Book of the Year Award in 1976 and was one of seven successful children's books produced by Dick Roughsey in collaboration with his colleague and friend Percy Tresize.

Object information

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