Barney Ellaga c 1940 is an elder of the Alawa Community, located on the upper reaches of the Cox and Arnold Rivers, south of the Roper River and west of the Gulf of Carpentaria. His birth country is Mamballi near Hodgson Downs, now called the Miniyerri Community through land claim. He has an intimate knowledge of his country; powerfully portrayed in his vibrant works. Barney’s use of strong, contrasting colours creates a unique depiction of his land. Each brush stroke represents ‘Alawa’; his Country and ‘His Place’.
This painting depicts a traditional topographical view of his mother’s country, Ngalakan in Eastern Arnhemland, during the wet season; its hills and rocky outcrops. The stippled brushwork is the traditional men’s body paint designs used for important Minyerri ceremonies. This site is associated with The King Brown Dreaming story relating to the creation myth and is an important part of Barney’s country and heritage.
Barney’s work has been exhibited in several exhibitions since 1989, with many acquisitions in prominent museums and public collections, including nine paintings acquired by the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
National Aboriginal Cultural Institute Inc, SA
Kerry Stokes Collection, Perth
Laverty Collection, Sydney