You are in site section: Exhibitions

Catalogue

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.


Catalogue

Old Masters: Australia’s Great Bark Artists

Old Masters catalogue cover featuring an image of 'Totemic Crocodile' by Yirawala, 1965.

Bark painting, as practised by Aboriginal artists of Arnhem Land for millennia, is one of the great traditions of world art. Yet it was only recognised as such late in the 20th century. Old Masters: Australia’s Great Bark Artists highlights the work of 40 master painters who have carried one of the oldest continuing traditions of art into the modern era.

Old Masters features the paintings of Narritjin Maymuru, Yirawala, Mawalan Marika and Malangi and their contemporaries. These men of high ritual standing were not only artists, but also ceremonial and clan leaders, philosophers, advocates for land rights and human rights, ambassadors and politicians, who recognised the power of art as the most eloquent means to build bridges between Aboriginal and European society.

The book includes essays by renowned scholars of Aboriginal art, biographies and portraits of the artists, and 122 full-colour plates of the paintings, made between 1948 and 1988, from the National Museum of Australia’s rich and extensive collection.

ISBN 978-1-921953-16-3
240pp full colour, 205mm x 310mm

Cover: Yirawala, Totemic Crocodile, 1965, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs Art collection, National Museum of Australia. © the artist or the artist’s estate, licensed by Aboriginal Artists Agency 2013. This image must not be reproduced in any form without permission.

Buy the Old Masters catalogue

On sale now at selected bookshops and at the Museum Shop.

RRP A$39.95. Buy online now from our Museum Shop

Read some sample pages from Old Masters here online

pdf Read a sample page from 'Abstraction' by Howard Morphy (PDF 118kb)

Page spread from the Old Masters publication featuring 'The shapes of things' essay by Wally Caruana.

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.


Publication Sponsor

Gordon Darling Foundation logo