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Midawarr | Harvest explores the plants of north-east Arnhem Land through artworks by Yolŋu elder Mulkuṉ Wirrpanda and landscape painter John Wolseley.

On show at:

The Mulka Project 7:33

This video contains names and images of deceased Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It was created by Mulkuṉ’s grandson, Ishmael Marika, and other members of the Mulka Project, a production company and digital archive at Yirrkala aiming to sustain and protect Yolŋu cultural knowledge. Footage of John Wolseley in his studio by Creative cowboy films

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Explore the artworks

Plants Compare Mulkun and John's works and learn more about each plant
Mulkun Wirrpanda See Mulkun’s stunning bark paintings and memorial poles
John Wolseley View John’s monumental Distant glimpses ... watercolour painting

About Midawarr

The National Museum of Australia's Midawarr exhibition featured more than 80 works and immersive multimedia experiences created by the Yolŋu community to give visitors insights into the special relationship between these two artists, and ancient Yolŋu knowledge of sustainable living.

Midawarr means ‘harvest’ in the Yolŋu matha (language). It is the season when rich plant life on Yolŋu country is ready to be collected and prepared.

About the artists

Mulkun Wirrpanda and John Wolseley have met every midawarr and other times in the past five years to research and document the many useful and delicious plants which, for centuries, have sustained communities in this unique part of the continent.

Mulkun and John's collaboration has resulted in a body of artworks including bark paintings, larrakitj (decorated memorial poles), printmaking and a monumental watercolour and mixed media painting.

Mulkun Wirrpanda and John Wolseley
Artists Mulkun Wirrpanda and John Wolseley. Photo: Angus Cameron

Mulkun Wirrpanda

Mulkun Wirrpanda is a senior elder of the Dhudi-Djapu clan of the Dhuwa moiety. Her early life was spent with her family in the normal pursuits of living from the land and marking life’s process through ceremonial activity. She was an early pioneer of the Homeland Movement and has until recently spent all of her time in the remote homelands of Yilpara, Dhuruputjpi and Gängan.She has been making art since the 1980s and is a senior ceremonial authority. Her passion for the land and its law is being continued by her two daughters, Yalmakany and Gurrundul, who are both senior rangers, and her son, Borrak, who is a lawman.

John Wolseley

John Wolseley was born in England in 1938 and arrived in Australia in 1976. His work in watercolour, drawing, printmaking and installation over the last 40 years has been a meditation on how the earth is a dynamic system of which we are all a part. He is represented in all state and national galleries and has received numerous grants, awards and prizes.

Midwarr | Harvest is supported by the National Collecting Institutions Touring and Outreach Program, an Australian Government program aiming to improve access to the national collections for all Australians.

This exhibition has been on show at:

  • National Museum of Australia, Canberra, 17 November 2017 to 19 February 2018

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