Barabba clan, Dangbon and Kune languages, Duwa moiety
Mandarrk was a fiercely independent traditionalist, who shunned the company of foreigners. He first met a European in 1946, while working at the sawmill at Maranboy. He was an acknowledged marrkdijbu or ‘clever man’, able to heal the sick and interact with spirit beings. Mandarrk lived in several bush camps until he established Yaymini outstation in the 1970s. His children recall the paintings he would make on their bark huts as teaching aids.
Mandarrk’s work was collected by the 1948 Arnhem Land expedition, and in the 1960s he worked with the anthropologist Eric Brandl, who documented his rock paintings. Mandarrk’s work has appeared in several major exhibitions, including Aratjara, which toured Europe in 1993–94.
Paintings in the exhibition
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.