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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.


Rirratjiŋu clan, Dhuwa moiety
about 1930–1987

Wandjuk Marika. Photo: Ian Dunlop.

Wandjuk was one of the great Yolŋu ambassadors. The eldest son of Mawalan Marika, he was taught to paint as a teenager and became a prolific artist. Disillusioned after discovering an unauthorised reproduction of one of his designs on a tea towel in 1974, he ceased painting for eight years. He became an advocate for Indigenous artists’ rights, a founding member of the Australia Council, and chair of the Aboriginal Arts Board from 1975 to 1980. In recognition of his services to the arts, Wandjuk was awarded an Order of the British Empire in 1979, and the sculpture prize at the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards is named in his honour.

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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