Law Text Culture


On the front cover of the Oxford Companion to Aboriginal Art and Culture an Aboriginal man in a red loin cloth appears dancing on a brightly coloured canvas. He is dwarfed by the size of the painting, and is doubly lost amid the 'riotous colour', the lines, circles and swirls of his platform, the Ngurrara Canvas II. This is Nyilpirr Spider Snell, an artist from the Kimberley/Great Sandy Desert region of North Western Australia, performing the Kurtal -- or snake dreaming dance -- in Canberra to 'remind those sitting on the High Court of the depth of [his peoples'] claim' (Native Title Newsletter 2002: 4).