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'Dreaming at Ngamuranya' by Jack Phillipus Tjagamara, 1978


'Dreaming at Ngamuranya' by Jack Phillipus Tjagamara, 1978

Object information


Ngamuranya is a major ceremonial site found far to the north west of Alice Springs, on the eastern side of Lake Mackay. This is the artist's birthplace, and he inherits the mythologies associated with the region.

The rock-hole site mainly concerns the Possum (Wyuta) Dreaming. It was at Ngamuranya that tthe Possum people returned after their long travels in the Dreamtime. They camped here for some time before they finished their cermonies at Wapinga, a site east of Ngamuranya.

Wavy lines and tracks represent the tail and feet of the Possum, and hence the movements and directions of the Possum people in the vicinity of the site. The ceremonial rock hole is represented by the concentric circles, the U-shapes are the ceremonial Possum leaders.

Possums are rarely seen in central Australia today, but were once quite plentiful, and an important food source for the Aboriginal people. It is likely that the spread of feral cats may have grossly depleted the native fauna of the area.

Physical description

A painting on canvas board. Concentric circle in centre. four wavy lines extending from outer circle rim to the corners of the painting. Pair of opposed arcs either side of centre circle. One longitudinal band of black dots on red ground centre of painting. Six isolated areas of black dots on red ground. Twelve prints or tracks at internals either side of wavy lines. White dots on red ground forms background.

Object information

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