- Medium: Acrylic on quality paper
- Year: 2023
- Size: 41 x 61 cm
- Artist skin name: Nakangila
- Clan: Djalama
- Born: 1976
- Language group: Kunwinjku
- Community: Gunbalanya (Oenpelli)
Namarrkon, the Lightning Spirit/Being, is an important ancestral being in the mythology of the First Nations people of Central and Western Arnhem Land. This spirit helped create the country during Djang (ancestral creation period, often referred to as ‘dreaming’). Namarrkon creates thunder by throwing stone axes down onto the earth. These axes can be seen protruding from various parts of his body, particularly the joints. An arc of lightning encircles his body. Namarrkon is especially active during December, when the season of Kunumeleng is characterised by spectacular pre-monsoon storms and then from January to March during Kudjewk, the ‘wet’ season in northern Australia. Namarrkon is also a guardian of the laws.
Kunwinjku art is part of the oldest continuous art tradition in the world. Ancestors of today’s artists have been painting the rock walls of West Arnhem Land for tens of thousands of years. The traditional palette of white, red, yellow and black comes from the ochre that naturally occurs in the region, although contemporary artists sometimes choose to paint in acrylics as well. Kunwinjku artists famously paint using either the traditional rarrk hatching technique, or the more contemporary and complex cross hatching technique which has been adapted from ceremonial painting. These lines are carefully painted using a manyilk, which is a piece of sedge grass shaved down until only a few fibres remain.
Lawrence Nganjmirra is the son of prominent painter Robin Nganjmirra (dec) and the prolific weaver Clara Nganjmirra (dec). He received early recognition of his talent as a painter, winning the 1993 Youth Prize in the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award Exhibition. Since then he has continued to exhibit regularly and develop his subject repertoire and style. Lawrence Nganjmirra is known for ambitious bark paintings and large scale works on Arches paper, as well as lorrkon (ceremonial log coffins). His works often relate to traditional hunting practices and the fauna of West Arnhem Land, all painted in his bold yet sensitive and harmonious style.