Lightning Spirit (Namarrkon) bears artist's name on the reverse natural earth pigments on eucalyptus bark 108 x 53cm (42 1/2 x 20 7/8in).
PROVENANCE Painted in the Gunbalanya (Oenpelli) region, Western Arnhem Land, Northern Territory
Cf. For a similar image by the artist, see Namarrkon the Lightning Man, 1993, in M. K. C. West (ed.), Rainbow, Sugarbag and Moon: Two artists of the stone country, Bardayal Nadjamerrek and Mick Kubarkku, Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin, 1995, plate 5, page 15.
An exquisitely rendered depiction of the Lightning Spirit responsible for the electrical storms of the Kunwinjku season of kurnumeleng when the first heavy rains fall in December. Namarrkon created Aljurr, the Leichhardt's grasshopper, that is active in the early to mid wet season. Namarrkon is typically depicted with stone axes protruding from his joints; he strikes these together to make flashes of lighting, while the electrical energy of lightning bolts connects his head through his hands to his feet. Bardayal's image of the spirit being Namarrkon is anthropomorphic, and it suggests features of the grasshopper. Images of lightning spirits abound in the rock art of the Arnhem Escarpment, and Bardayal was a renowned rock painter having been tutored in the art by his father Yanjorluk in the 1940s.
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