Big Waterhole at Miniyerri


To be Auctioned on July 25th 12 Noon


130 x 165cm

Availability: 1 in stock

By Barney Ellaga



Barney Ellaga 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. Associated with this place is the Waterhole Dreaming; the wet season bringing heavy monsoonal rains that fill the dry waterholes; a source of life for birds, fish, frogs, kangaroos and all sorts of animals. This is a very bountiful period for Ngalakan and Minyerri Aboriginal people who live off the land. The wet season lasts for 3 months of the year, and then the waterholes become dry, parched and void of life once again.

Barney’s work has been exhibited in several exhibitions since 1989, and more recently solo exhibitions.



National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

NAtional Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

National Aboriginal Cultural Institute Inc., SA

Kerry Stokes Collection, Perth

Laverty Collection, Sydney

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