Sandra Scholes Escobar

Country : Gununa Mornington Island
Tribe: Lardil
Born: 1956

Sandra Scholes Escobar is from Mornington Island in the Gulf of Carpentaria Queensland Australia.

She is married to a man from Cuba.

The majority of the citizens live in the township of Gununa.

Mornington Island is included in the Shire of Mornington local government area.

The majority of the islanders are Aboriginal.

The Lardil are the predominant clan group on Mornington Island and are the traditional owners of the land and surrounding seas.

The Kiadilt clan arrived more recently (1947) from nearby Bentinck Island, when that island's water supply was contaminated by salt after a cyclone.

Macassan trepangers once travelled thousands of kilometers from Sulawesi to Mornington Island and other Australian mainland destinations in search of sea cucumbers.

The women of the Island traditionally make necklaces, grass skirts and dancing hats for the men to wear.

Sandra is the only female artist from the Island.

Sandra came to Darwin in 1987 she started painting in 1999 at age of 43.

Sandra Scholes Escobar has a unique painting style that differs from other traditional forms of Aboriginal Art.

She paints with traditional ochres on canvas and acrylic on canvas.

She paints Rainbow Serpent story and swamp Turtles and other themes related to the Salt Water dreaming’s of her Island home.


The Lardil tribe of Mornington Island believe that Thuwathu is the owner of the sea.

If a person goes down to the saltwater with greasy food on them the rainbow serpent will enter the offenders body and cause great sickness, called Mulgarree.

Sometimes the serpent is depicted as a huge coiled python with horns, as others it is a combination of fish, dugong and a serpent with scales like oyster shells and the roar of a bull.

It’s eyes are said to have been made by shooting stars which were red in colour, but this can change to blue, green yellow or white.

Other unusual cultural beliefs from Mornington

It is taboo to point at coloured shooting stars as this may cause bad luck, even sickness and death.

There is no restriction in pointing at white stars which indicates that turtle eggs or a newborn baby will soon be found