Burarr & Kedjebe (Water Goanna & File Snake)

This painting depicts burarrĀ and kedjebe, two of the numerous reptiles found in freshwater rivers and billabongs in the artist’s country. They are a major source of food for the Kunwinjku people who live in western Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory of Australia.

BurarrĀ (water goanna) is a reptile that is frequently caught and eaten. They have rich white flesh and the eggs they lay are considered to be excellent bush tucker. Kedjebe (filesnake) are a large passive snake with a rough skin like a file. They are best hunted when the flood plains start to dry up.

The artist has depicted the fluid forms of these reptiles using the fine linework called rarrk that was traditionally used by past generations, and adorns many rock art shelters in the Arnhem region.