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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.

Mithinarri Gurruwiwi
Mithinarri Gurruwiwi. Courtesy Buku-Larnggay Mulka Centre, 2008.


Gälpu clan, Dhuwa moiety
about 1929–1976

Mithinarri was a prolific painter. He is noted for a style of painting that features repeated motifs organised in patterns that suggest the rhythms of ritual performance.

His favourite subject was the Wäwilak Sisters and Wititj the Python in Gälpu clan territory.

Mithinarri’s paintings appear in major public collections throughout Australia, in Paris and at the University of Virginia. They have also featured in several major exhibitions, including: The Art of Aboriginal Australia, which toured North America in 1974–76; Aboriginal Art: The Continuing Tradition at the National Gallery of Australia in 1989; and Yirrkala Artists: Everywhen at the Art Gallery of Western Australia in 2009.

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.

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.


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