Snake relations

26 October 2015 - 5 February 2016

Curated by Diana Young

Niningka Lewis, Malara, 2012, Pyrograph diptych, acrylic paint on plywood, Acquired 2014
Niningka Lewis | Malara 2012 | Pyrograph diptych, acrylic paint on plywood | Acquired 2014

This is a small exhibition showing pairs and groups of snakes from the UQ Anthropology Museum’s Collection. The snakes appear as paintings, prints and relief carvings. There are precise skin markings evident on many.

The works are drawn from makers living and working in central and Western Australia and Queensland. All the works were made to sell. Named artists include Ron Hurley, Niningka Lewis, Barbara Nipper Tjakatu and Jimmy Pike. The rippling forms in this show, conveying snake movement and tracks, span more than seventy human years.

All the snakes here are images of important Ancestral beings. Snakes have a religious aspect and a labile character, liable to turn into someone else as they travel along. Or appear suddenly from a waterhole or from a hole in the ground. The snakes might be related to one another as family. They might be a companionable pair, or a group of poisonous snakes, pythons and even rainbow serpents.


View full photo gallery on Flickr:  Snake Relations


Banner image: Maker(s) unrecorded, dish 1970s or 1980s, Central Australia, possibly Papunya. Acquired 2015
Teaser image: Maker(s) unrecorded, Pokerwork throwing stick before 1970, Mornington Island, Queensland. Donated by John Bartholomew, 2003