N'dene Riley

Turtle living in the ocean life

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N’Dene Riley is an emerging artist best known for her luminant imagery of the ocean and sea life. With ancestry from the Aboriginal people of Tasmania, she now resides on the Mornington Peninsula. Her relationship with the land and the water informs her work, seeking tribute to the strength and beauty of the ocean along with its healing powers. She draws on her connection to her ancestors and the stories passed down about how to respect and care for the ocean. Through the use of circles and symbols, she portrays a connectedness between all living things. Working mainly with acrylic on canvas, N’Dene imparts a unique message of hope and positivity with every painting.

Acrylic on stretched canvas


122cm x 92cm

# 145-23

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The Turtles within this painting are real in our living life and our spiritual life. We can imagine them swimming together as a family and our minds swimming with them. Often, we are with all the wonderful creatures in their worlds and we record that in song, dance, artwork and now written languages. We learn from the Turtles and their way of life. The artwork is designed to show how the inhabitants all successfully live together underwater in their loa maggalangta (deep water).

There is Wattah (shellfish), Warinyer (mussels) muton fish (abalone) and mober ley (plenty) of fish and creatures in it. When I spoke with one of my Aunties’ recently, she said the Victorian Turtles were visiting her shorelines in Parrdarrma Pungenna.

 My hope is that you have this painting to inspire, remind and increase awareness of our beautiful underwater world and that you protect it as we do in Our Culture".