(Echidna) Ngarrbek is the Kunwinjku word for echidna, the small mammal known as spiny ant eater which is indigenous to Australia. Echidnas are one of only two species of monotremes in the world – a mammal that lays eggs. The other is the platypus. Echidnas eat ants and termites and despite such an unappealing diet have tasty flesh and are highly prized as bush tucker.
This etching is the result of a printmaking workshop with Melbourne based printmaker Andrew Sinclair. Andrew has travelled to Injalak Arts in western Arnhem since 2009 working with artists including Bardayal Nadjamerrek AO (dec), Graham Badari, Solomon Girrabul, Ezariah Kelly, Wilfred Nawirridj, Bruce Nabegeyo and Terrence Nabegeyo.
The Stone Country of Western Arnhem Land is a unique, remote and richly diverse landscape rich with rock art galleries containing ancient imagery that is intrinsic to the spiritual life of the community.
Kunwinjku people believe ancestral beings travelled through the country creating landmarks and places in which they continue to dwell, known as Djang (Dreaming). Accordingly the Kunwinjku people maintain a profound and ancient visual tradition. Paintings on rock, bark and (more recently) prints connect with ancient rituals, stories and spiritual associations. Rendered simply and directly onto steel plate these etchings narrate the soul and spirit of the Stone Country and its inhabitants.