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Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri

Larumba Dreaming - 1994

synthetic polymer paint on Belgian linen
125.0 x 82.0 cm
EST. $12,000 - $15,000

MP #416


Private Collection, Melbourne Vic
Sotheby's, Aboriginal Art, Melbourne, 31/10/2006, Lot No. 130
Private collection, USA

Clifford Possum's unique artistic style is characterised by its innovative use of spatial configuration beyond the more conventional Papunya idiom of dots, circles and lines. This inventiveness with space, imparts a psychological mood and a remarkable sense of atmosphere in his works.


Here he has painted Napperby Lake or Larumba, a saltwater lake which flows along a series of claypans, occasionally disappearing beneath the surface, near the border of the Tanami and Simpson Deserts. The Lake belongs to the Tjapaltjarri and Tjungurrayi sub sections of Anmatjerre society.

Formed in the Dreamtime, at the dawn of creation, Larumba is depicted in this painting through a rainbow of colours and creative abstraction. Larumba was initially occupied by the artist's ancient Tjapaltjarri grandfather, who wandered over this vast desert country in search of food and fresh water, which he found in abundance, before setting up a permanent camp. The tracks he left behind are depicted in the work as human foot prints, which are portrayed in a travelling mode near clumps of wild bush plums. At the centre is a fresh water hole, shown as concentric circles, which reveals the water's sacred nature. Besides depicting a water hole, the concentric circles here, also represent a ceremonial sandpainting, that symbolises the ancestor's sacred Dreaming site. Sacred also is Napperby Lake itself, which the artist has indicated using a complex pattern of lines that invite the imagination to see the Lake's salty water as it flows along underground claypans. These twist and turn over a vast area, across, and under the surface of, this Ancestor's Dreamtime country.