Spirit Figures and Water Goannas


Acrylic on Canvas, 99 x 191cm, 1994


This piece by Philip Gudthaykudthay shows the triangular shapes where the ancestral witiji (olive python) hits the ground after swallowing the Wagilag sisters and their child. The figure represents one of the sisters at the water hole and the snake is Witiji. The water goanna’s are one of Philip Gudthaykudthay’s main totems.

Philip Gudthaykudthay is the most senior artist from Ramingining and the last active artist from the Milingimbi school of painters. Taught by great artists, such as his father Dawidi and his uncle Djawa, Gudthaykudthay has been painting since the 1960s. His totems include Burruwara the native cat, Wititj the olive python, the water goanna and Badurru the hollow log.