Barney Ellaga

Barney is a Senior law man within his Alawa Community, Minyerri.  His style is reminiscent of the ancient rock art painted in caves through out his peoples land.  Each line represents a different aspect of his country. His main themes are landscapes of his country on either his paternal or maternal sides.  Very often his work is preceded by a dream, after which he will paint a series of works which piece together the story of the dream which Barney says comes from ‘the old people’.

All Alawa people belong to one of four semi-moeities.  This is a similar system to Yolngu peoples “Duwa / Yirritjja” system.  All Alawa people are either; Guyal, Burdal, Murrungurn or Mambali.

Membership to these groups help determine their role in ceremony, land ownership, relationships to other people and country.  For example, Barney is Guyal and Tibby is Mambali.  Tibby is guardian, or junggayi, of Barney’s country.

Barney is represented in collections such as the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Kerry Stokes Collection, Perth, Laverty Collection, Sydney and the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne.