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Snake Art

Snake Dreaming Paintings

Snake artworks in Aboriginal Australia show the symbolic powers attributed to the snake, as an underground force and also as the Water spirit.

Snake Artworks

Aboriginal artists incorporate animals from the natural world around them into their art and stories. Snakes are indigenous to all parts of Australia and feature strongly in the Creation stories held by Aboriginal people and in their paintings and carvings. The snake has been used as a symbol of strength, creativity and continuity since ancient times across many societies. Using its powers to disappear into the earth and to re-appear in other locations has given the snake a symbolic power that is represented in stories and art.

The snake is seen as a Creation Ancestor in Aboriginal Australia and its journeys across the country create aspects of the landscape. It is linked to the earth because it burrows underground, but it is also closely linked to water. As a representation of the Rainbow Serpent or Water Snake, this powerful spirit protects and lives inside the water locations. It travels between water sites and must be approached with respect when coming in to contact with these places. It has powers to conjure up devastating storms and destructive winds.

Aboriginal people have great knowledge of the natural world around them and the snake is seen as a strong force in the animal kingdom and one to be respected. Although an Ancestral spirit and a clan totem in the Kimberley, the snake is also a food source and may be hunted for food. Warlpiri people paint the snake vine in the Ngalyipi Jukurrpa, where the fibre is used for weaving ritual artefacts and items that are used in ceremonies. The snake image may be seen in many forms in paintings, where it may be shown as its naturalistic shape, its tracks when moving or as its symbolic Spirit force.

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Three Different Stories from the Bush by Margaret Boko

Margaret Boko  |  Three Different Stories from the Bush

Jap 007362  |  acrylic on canvas  |  120 x 40 cm

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The Ghan Train by Flora Holt

Flora Holt  |  The Ghan Train

Jap 007185  |  acrylic on canvas  |  118 x 46 cm

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Water Hole by Mary McLean

Mary McLean  |  Water Hole

Jap 012723  |  acrylic on canvas  |  148 x 124 cm

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Ngalyipi Jukurrpa – Snake Vine Dreaming by Elsie Napanangka Granites

Elsie Napanangka Granites  |  Ngalyipi Jukurrpa – Snake Vine Dreaming

Jap 012793  |  acrylic on linen  |  91 x 76 cm

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Goanna, Snake, Fish by Oenpelli - artist unknown

Oenpelli - artist unknown  |  Goanna, Snake, Fish

Jap 010645  |  ochre on paper  |  76 x 52 cm

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Bird and Snake by Billy Namundja

Billy Namundja  |  Bird and Snake

Jap 010649  |  ochre on paper  |  29 x 21 cm

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Wati Kutjarra by Leonard Walker & Nulbingka Simms

Leonard Walker & Nulbingka Simms  |  Wati Kutjarra

Jap 015731  |  acrylic on canvas   |  137 x 75 cm

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Ungud by Kirsty Burgu

Kirsty Burgu  |  Ungud

Jap 012305  |  ochre and acrylic on canvas  |  45 x 45 cm

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Mens Collaborative by Spinifex Men

Spinifex Men  |  Mens Collaborative

Jap 007478  |  acrylic on canvas  |  158 x 135 cm

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Wandjina – Hunting by Donny Woolagoodja

Donny Woolagoodja  |  Wandjina – Hunting

Jap 007470  |  ochre on canvas  |  51 x 44 cm

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Wandjina, Ungud Snake & Dumbi by Mildred Mungulu

Mildred Mungulu  |  Wandjina, Ungud Snake & Dumbi

Jap 007472  |  ochre on canvas  |  56 x 48 cm

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Snake Dreaming by Long Jack Phillipus

Long Jack Phillipus  |  Snake Dreaming

Jap 000663  |  acrylic on canvas  |  116 x 60 cm

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Pukara by Men's Collaborative

Men's Collaborative  |  Pukara

Jap 011042  |  acrylic on linen  |  233 x 197 cm

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Mimi Spirits Dancing by Edward Blitner

Edward Blitner  |  Mimi Spirits Dancing

Jap 007005  |  acrylic on canvas  |  109 x 97 cm

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Bringing the Rain – Rain Snake by Billy Spratt

Billy Spratt  |  Bringing the Rain – Rain Snake

Jap 011734  |  acrylic on linen  |  136 x 99 cm

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Snake and Water Dreaming by Long Jack Phillipus

Long Jack Phillipus  |  Snake and Water Dreaming

Jap 000661  |  acrylic on canvas  |  142 x 98 cm

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Wandjina & Ungud by Leah Umbagai

Leah Umbagai  |  Wandjina & Ungud

Jap 012303  |  ochre and acrylic on canvas  |  60 x 30 cm

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Ngalyipi Jukurrpa – Snake Vine Dreaming by Elsie Napanangka Granites

Elsie Napanangka Granites  |  Ngalyipi Jukurrpa – Snake Vine Dreaming

Jap 012794  |  acrylic on linen  |  91 x 75 cm

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Namarali by Mildred Mungulu

Mildred Mungulu  |  Namarali

Jap 007523  |  Etching  |  53 x 39 cm

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Ngalyipi Jukurrpa – Snake Vine Dreaming by Elsie Napanangka Granites

Elsie Napanangka Granites  |  Ngalyipi Jukurrpa – Snake Vine Dreaming

Jap 012795  |  acrylic on linen  |  121 x 61 cm

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Python Ancestral Spirits by Djardie Ashley

Djardie Ashley  |  Python Ancestral Spirits

Jap 008199  |  limited edition silkscreen  |  62 x 43 cm

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Everything Happens at Once by Mary McLean

Mary McLean  |  Everything Happens at Once

Jap 010354  |  limited edition silkscreen  |  100 x 70 cm

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Water Snake by Lorna Napurrula Fencer

Lorna Napurrula Fencer  |  Water Snake

Jap 001038  |  acrylic on canvas  |  137 x 40 cm

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Wulpultjara by Roy Underwood

Roy Underwood  |  Wulpultjara

Jap 011056  |  acrylic on linen  |  110 x 83 cm

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Wandjina Spirits by Mowanjum Artists

Mowanjum Artists  |  Wandjina Spirits

Jap 009010  |  etching  |  53 x 38.5 cm

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Wandjinas and Ungud Snake by Mabel King

Mabel King  |  Wandjinas and Ungud Snake

Jap 008114  |  acrylic on canvas  |  122 x 44 cm

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Kangaroo Hunter by Kurun Warun

Kurun Warun  |  Kangaroo Hunter

Jap 013286  |  acrylic on linen  |  119 x 86 cm

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Ngalyawiltirr by Jimmy Pike

Jimmy Pike  |  Ngalyawiltirr

Jap 010340  |  limited edition silkscreen  |  39 x 33 cm

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Larripuka Waru Waru by Jimmy Pike

Jimmy Pike  |  Larripuka Waru Waru

Jap 010348  |  limited edition silkscreen  |  36 x 25 cm

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Pukara by Roy Underwood

Roy Underwood  |  Pukara

Jap 007482  |  acrylic on canvas  |  158 x 135 cm

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Rain Snake by Jimmy Pike

Jimmy Pike  |  Rain Snake

Jap 008222  |  limited edition silkscreen  |  62 x 44 cm

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Snake Vine Dreaming – Yanjirlpiri by Geraldine Napangardi Granites

Geraldine Napangardi Granites  |  Snake Vine Dreaming – Yanjirlpiri

Jap 010902  |  acrylic on linen  |  107 x 30 cm

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Ngalyipi Jukurrpa (Snake Vine Dreaming- Yanjirlpiri) by Jill Nungarrayi Watson

Jill Nungarrayi Watson  |  Ngalyipi Jukurrpa (Snake Vine Dreaming- Yanjirlpiri)

Jap 009289  |  acrylic on canvas  |  30 x 30 cm

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Snake Vine Dreaming by Lisa Nungarrayi Martin

Lisa Nungarrayi Martin  |  Snake Vine Dreaming

Jap 009260  |  acrylic on canvas  |  61 x 30 cm

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