SAMUEL NAMUNJDJA

Posted by Jeremy Eccles | 19.06.18

It's reported from Maningrida that the great Kuninjku bark artist, Samuel Namunjdja died in early May. He was only 54 and leaves a substantial family on his Mankorlod outstation, some 50km from the Western Arnhemland township. I had the pleasure of visiting him and his community of 30 and was warmly welcomed into this creative place – so close to the Country Namunjdja he cared for and painted. His documentation of its rock art was legendary, and his good-humoured approach to life, even as he took seriously the evolution of his art to a unique level of abstraction, made clear that he was not a tortured artist. Samuel Namunjdja was born in West Central Arnhem Land in August 1965. He was a member of an artistic family, being taught to paint the stories of his clan by his father, Peter Marralwanga, a distinguished painter in his own right and the legendary Yirawala's sister's son. That school of coiled spring figures of both animals and mythic creatures was in good hands. When only in his 20s, Namunjdja won what was then called the Rothmans Foundation Award for Best Painting in a Traditional Media at the National Aboriginal Art Awards in 1993. He followed up with a high commendation in 2003 and by winning the 2006 Telstra Bark Painting Award at the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards. In 1993, his subject was 'Namorrodoh' a malicious spirit of the Stone Country; by 2006, he'd moved on into the abstraction that his brother-in-law, Johnny Mawurndjul pioneered, tackling the esoteric subject of Gungura, the Wind Dreaming. Gungura has several meanings. It is the spiralling wind associated with several sites of the Kardbam clan – especially one called Bilwoninj - and can also be interpreted as representing the mini-cyclones which are common during» Read More

 

DARK EMU

DARK EMU

Posted by Jeremy Eccles | 15.06.18

Bruce Pascoe's important 2014 book has been turned into performance by the only company that could possibly have attempted it – Bangarra Dance Theatre. In case you haven't caught up with the book (which you really should), The Conversation website...» Read More

 

WIK v TAREE

WIK v TAREE

Posted by Jeremy Eccles | 14.06.18

Two documentary films on significant Indigenous subjects came early in this year's Sydney Film Festival – which has such an honourable tradition of celebrating First Nations creativity. But what a gulf between the two. The first was an encyclopedic history...» Read More

 

WARS & MASSACRES

WARS & MASSACRES

Posted by Jeremy Eccles | 08.06.18

The ever-over-wrought Alan Jones was launching a book about political correctness the other day and was quoted as saying that “primary school children today know more about the 'fictitious' Welcome to Country than they do about Burke and Wills (who...» Read More

 

NY “Goes Ballistic” over Aboriginal Art

NY “Goes Ballistic” over Aboriginal Art

Posted by Jeremy Eccles | 03.06.18

You may recall that the Aboriginal art world got mightily upset in April when it appeared that the incredibly famous English artist Damien Hirst had 'borrowed' more than few visual ideas from the artists of Central Australia who had developed...» Read More

 

THE PLAY'S THE THING.....

THE PLAY'S THE THING.....

Posted by Jeremy Eccles | 30.05.18

As Hamlet noted, a play can play a significant role in stimulating the conscience – even one that may or may not be possessed by a king. So the month of June in Sydney (elsewhere later) seems to have been...» Read More

 

Red Ochre Time Again

Red Ochre Time Again

Posted by Jeremy Eccles | 25.05.18

The Australia Council for the Arts is set to celebrate four remarkable artists at the 11th National Indigenous Arts Awards taking place at the Sydney Opera House this weekend. The National Indigenous Arts Awards (NIAAs) recognise the significant contribution of...» Read More

 

THE LOCKHART BRAND IS BUOYED UP

THE LOCKHART BRAND IS BUOYED UP

Posted by Jeremy Eccles | 24.05.18

I've been a fan of the artists from Lockhart River on Cape York for almost 20 years now – ever since a bunch of giggling girls appeared at the International Works on Paper Fair in Sydney in 1999. This mob,...» Read More

 

Current Exhibitions


Industry Corner: Exhibition

NY “Goes Ballistic” over Aboriginal Art

Posted by Jeremy Eccles | 03.06.18

You may recall that the Aboriginal art world got mightily upset in April when it appeared that the incredibly famous English artist Damien Hirst had 'borrowed' more than few visual ideas from the artists of Central Australia who had developed...» Read More

Industry Corner: Event

Red Ochre Time Again

Posted by Jeremy Eccles | 25.05.18

The Australia Council for the Arts is set to celebrate four remarkable artists at the 11th National Indigenous Arts Awards taking place at the Sydney Opera House this weekend. The National Indigenous Arts Awards (NIAAs) recognise the significant contribution of...» Read More

Events: Event

The Late Mary Macha

Posted by Jeremy Eccles | 02.11.17

Somehow, the Aboriginal Art Directory failed to report the death in March of a woman of great importance in the development of Aboriginal art – Mary Macha. She grew from a West Australian job in the State's Native Welfare Department...» Read More

Events: Event

Art for the Environment

Posted by Aboriginal Art Directory | 14.06.17

The Environmental Defenders Office of the Northern Territory (EDO NT) is again holding an online Aboriginal art auction to raise funds for its important work (advising and acting for individuals, traditional owners, community groups and conservation groups seeking to protect...» Read More

 

 


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