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NARRITJIN MAYMURU

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.


Narritjin Maymuru

Narritjin Maymuru
Narritjin Maymuru. Photo: Howard Morphy.

Maŋgalili clan, Yirritja moiety
about 1914–1982

‘Artistfella’ is how Narritjin described himself. Not only an artist, he was also a performer, advocate, politician, clan head, ceremonial leader, philosopher and entrepreneur. Narritjin believed in the power of art to transcend cultures. In 1962, he was the instigator and one of the main painters of the Yirrkala Church Panels, and he painted the Aboriginal Bark Petitions in 1963. In 1978, he and his son Banapana were the first Aboriginal artists to be awarded a creative arts fellowship, at the Australian National University.

Before the establishment of an art centre at Yirrkala, Narritjin acted as agent to sell his own and other Maŋalili art at Djarrakpi. Narritjin’s work is in all the major public collections in Australia as well as in Paris and Basel, and at the University of Virginia. His exhibition history dates back to 1949, with Arnhem Land Art at the David Jones Art Gallery in Sydney. His work has been selected for any major exhibitions, including: Art of Aboriginal Australia, which toured North America in 1974–76; Dreamings, New York, in 1988; The Continuing Tradition at the National Gallery of Australia in 1989; Crossroads: Towards a New Reality, Japan, in 1992; Aratjara, which toured Europe in 1993–94; and Three Creative Fellows: Sidney Nolan, Arthur Boyd, Narritjin Maymuru at the Australian National University in 2007.

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.

  • Coat of Arms
    Narritjin Maymuru, Coat of Arms
  • Creation Stories of the Maŋgalili Clan
    Narritjin Maymuru, Creation Stories of the Maŋgalili Clan
  • Djarrakpi: The Lightning Snake Passes Through
    Narritjin Maymuru, Djarrakpi: The Lightning Snake Passes Through
  • Djirrididi ga Damala
    Narritjin Maymuru, Djirrididi ga Damala
  • Fight between Crocodile-Man and Stingray-Man
    Narritjin Maymuru, Fight between Crocodile-Man and Stingray-Man
  • Gunyan White Sand Crab
    Narritjin Maymuru, Gunyan White Sand Crab
  • Guwak ga Marrŋu (Night-Bird and Possum)
    Narritjin Maymuru, Guwak ga Marrŋu (Night-Bird and Possum)
  • Sacred Ceremonial Ground at Gunuŋuwuy
    Narritjin Maymuru, Sacred Ceremonial Ground at Gunuŋuwuy
  • The Marrawili Tree
    Narritjin Maymuru, The MarrawilIi Tree
  • The Two Wurrathithi with Ceremonial Digging Stick
    Narritjin Maymuru, The Two Wurrathithi with Ceremonial Digging Stick
  • Wurrathithi Digging Stick
    Narritjin Maymuru, Wurrathithi Digging Stick
  • Yiŋapuŋapu
    Narritjin Maymuru, Yiŋapuŋapu
  • Yiŋapuŋapu at Djarrakpi
    Narritjin Maymuru, Yiŋapuŋapu at Djarrakpi

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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