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Central Arnhem Land

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.


Central Arnhem Land

The artists of central Arnhem Land belong to the Yolŋu-speaking groups whose lands extend to the east coast of Arnhem Land. Most people in this area moved from their traditional lands to the Christian mission on the island of Milingimbi after it was established in 1923, and to the postwar mainland settlements of Maningrida and Ramingining, before returning to their customary lands in the 1970s and 1980s. In central Arnhem Land, the style of painting draws on elements of the figurative imagery of the west, and the detailed patterning and geometric compositions of the east.

Explore the major themes


Dawidi

Dawidi

 

Milpurrurru

Milpurrurru

 

Djan’Kawu

Djan’kawu

 

Portraits

Portraits

 

Malangi

Malangi

 


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.