You are in site section: Exhibitions


Old Masters: Australia's great bark artists

Caution: This website includes images and names of deceased people that may cause distress to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Gawarrin Gumana
Gawarrin Gumana. Courtesy Buku-Larnggay Mulka Centre, 2008.


Dhalwaŋu clan, Yirritja moiety
born about 1935

Gawirrin, the eldest son of Birrikitji, is the oldest surviving painter of the Yirrkala Church Panels (1963).

In 2002 he won the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award. The following year he received the Order of Australia for his services to Indigenous art and was selected for the Clemenger Contemporary Art Award. In 2009 he won the Red Ochre Award.

Among the many exhibitions to feature his work are: Art of the Dreamtime, Tokyo, in 1966; Dreamings in New York in 1988; Aboriginal Art: The Continuing Tradition at the National Gallery of Australia in 1989; Yirrkala Artists: Everywhen at the Art Gallery of Western Australia in 2009; and the Biennale of Sydney in 2010.

Paintings in the exhibition

Click on the images below to see a larger version and more information, including dimensions. Please note these images are not to scale.

  • Barama Spreads the Sacred Law
    Gawirrin Gumana, Barama Spreads the Sacred Law
  • The Sacred Log
    Gawirrin Gumana, The Sacred Log

All these bark paintings are part of the National Museum of Australia’s collection. © the artist or the artist’s estate, licensed by Aboriginal Artists Agency 2013, unless otherwise specified. These images must not be reproduced in any form without permission.


< Previous Next >