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John Namerredje Guymala

John Namerredje Guymala is an aboriginal artist working in the 1970’s. He is best known for his depictions of the Ngalkunburriyaymi female spirit.

His figurative paintings are very distinctive. His striking figures filled with parallel rarrk or cross hatching.

If you have a bark painting by John Namerredje Guymala and you want to know what it is worth or looking to sell it please feel free to send me an image.

Art style John Namerredje Guymala

Some of John’s early works are in the traditional Oenpelli xray rock art style. These painting show the internal organs of animals and use traditional parallel rarrk in a style like Nadjamerrek. Painted on bark with a monochrome background and one or two dominant figurative elements. It is likely that Namerredje had a rock art painting background.


Johns later works abandon the X Ray style but maintain the monochrome back ground. These later paintings use cross hatching or blocks of colour instead of parallel line work. This is likely to be due to the influence of Wally Mandarrk. Namerredje painted male and female spirits, the rainbow serpent and kangaroos.



Born around 1926 very little is known about John Namerredje Guymala early life. Like Curly Bardkadubbu and Dick Murramurra John spoke Kunwinjku Language. In 1973 Namerredje and his family moved to Yaymini outstation, far to the south of Maningrida. He shared the outstation with Wally Mandarrk and his family. He was already an old man before his commercial painting career started. In the 1970s by the Aboriginal Arts Board and the American collector Ed Ruhe collect his work.

Further reading

The Art of Aboriginal Australia,

Kunwinjku Bim

The Rainbow Serpent

Aboriginal people believe that Ngalyod, the Rainbow Serpent, created many sacred sites in Arnhem Land. Characteristics of Ngalyod vary from group to group and also depend on the site. He can change into a female serpent, and has both, powers of creation and destruction. Ngalyod is most strongly associated with rain, monsoon seasons, and the rainbows that arc across the sky like a giant serpent. He is most active in the wet season. In the dry season, he rests in billabongs and freshwater springs. When he rests he handles the production of water plants such as waterlilies, vines, algae, and cabbage tree palms.

When waterfalls roar down deep gorges, that Ngalyod is calling out. Large holes in stony banks of rivers and cliff faces are his tracks.

The rainbow serpent is deeply respected because it will swallow people who offend him. If Ngalyod swallows people during floods that he has created, he regurgitates them and they transform into new beings by his blood.

Aboriginal people respect sacred sites where the Rainbow Serpent resides. Near these sites cooking is not allowed. Cooking near the resting place of the great serpent will incur his wrath. Ngalyod can cause sickness, accidents and great floods, which make it easier for him to swallow his victims.

Although Ngalyod is generally feared throughout the Stone Country, he is a friend and protector of the tiny Mimi Spirits.

Other Aboriginal Art and Artists

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John Namerredje Guymala artwork Images

The following images of the Artworks of John Namerredje Guymala. It is not a complete list of his works. They do however give a good idea of the style and above all the variety of this Aboriginal Artist.

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