Rover Thomas (circa 1926-1998) Langkur (Lingurr)
Lot 170
Rover Thomas (circa 1926-1998) Langkur (Lingurr)
AU$ 35,000 - 45,000
US$ 33,000 - 42,000
Auction Details
Lot Details
Rover Thomas (circa 1926-1998)
Langkur (Lingurr)
bears catalogue number R.T.1487 on the stretcher support
natural earth pigments and natural binders on canvas
89 x 179.5cm


    Painted at Warmun, Turkey Creek in 1987
    Mary Macha, Perth
    Private collection until 2000
    Mary Macha, Perth
    Private collection

    Cf. Ngamarrin (The Snake near Turkey Creek), 1984, in the collection of the National Gallery of Australia in R. Thomas et al, Roads Cross: The Paintings of Rover Thomas, Canberra: The National Gallery of Australia, 1994, p.38; and Wangkal Junction - Wulangkuya, 1988 in the Collection of the Art Gallery of Western Australia in M.A. O'Ferrall, 1990 Venice Biennale, Australia: Rover Thomas – Trevor Nickolls, Perth: Art Gallery of Western Australia, 1990, p.25, pl.12.

    In Langkur (Lingurr) 1987 Thomas depicts one of two ancestral snakes that feature in the painted boards used in the Kurirr Kurirr ceremony. The ritual interprets the destruction of the city of Darwin in 1974 by Cyclone Tracy, which then moved across to the eastern Kimberley. Here the roads flooded by the teeming rains of the cyclone caused a car accident in which Thomas' classificatory mother was fatally injured. The spirit of this woman revealed to Thomas the Kurirr Kurirr ritual and its associated song cycles and graphic images that were painted onto boards carried by ceremonial participants. Langkur (Lingurr) 1987 refers to the Rainbow Serpent Unggud (also known as Wungkul or Wungurr) who, in the guise of the cyclone Tracy destroyed Darwin. In this work the artist has also depicted the place where the car accident occurred. It is a junction in the road just outside of Turkey Creek: the actual site appears in the painting at the junction between the snake's head and the first 'hill-top' at the extreme left.
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