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National Museum of Australia

Where our stories come alive

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Painting no. 1, Rainbow Serpent story by Dick Roughsey - Goorialla making Narabullgan

2006.0077.0001

Painting no. 1, Rainbow Serpent story by Dick Roughsey - Goorialla making Narabullgan

Object information

Physical description

An oil painting on board in a wood and white coloured frame. Set in a parched brown landscape, four Indigenous Australian people (a man, two women and a child) with their backs to the viewer, look into the distance towards the left of the picture frame where an orange coloured, corkscew like phenomenon is emerging from the ground. The sky is bright orange and red. 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, '# 1' 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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