Goanna, Snake, and Possum Dreamings in Mt. Singleton Country

Michael Nelson Jagamarra, Australian, 1949 - 2020
Western Desert
Northern Territory



Acrylic on canvas

Overall: 35 13/16 × 24 in. (91 × 61 cm)

Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Gift of Will Owen and Harvey Wagner



Place Made: Australia, Oceania


20th century

Object Name


Research Area


Not on view


The three animals referenced in this painting: the rainbow serpent, possum, and goanna (monitor lizard) all signify various Jukurrpa (Dreamings) demonstrating how the Jukurrpa encompasses animal and human beings as well as the land and sky. In one Dreaming, shown in the center, a Possum man ran away with the wrong woman, and all the other men of the tribe and the serpent’s storm chased him to Jangankurlangu, where he was killed. The thunderstorms were caused by the rainbow serpent Warnayarra on the left. The goanna on the right is from near Mt. Singleton.

From the 2023 exhibition Layered Histories: Indigenous Australian Art from the Kimberley and Central Desert, curated by Amelia Kahl, Barbara C. & Harvey P. Hood 1918 Curator of Academic Programming

Course History

Geography 31.01, Postcolonial Geographies, Erin Collins, Fall 2023

Exhibition History

Layered Histories: Indigenous Australian Art from the Kimberely and Central Desert, Amelia Kahl, Curator, 5 August 2023 - 2 March 2024, Citrin Family Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth, Hanover, New Hampshire.


Will Owen (1952-2015) and Harvey Wagner (1931-2017), Chapel Hill, North Carolina; given to present collection, 2009.

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