5 JOHN MAWURNDJUL (born 1952)
natural earth pigments with PVC fixative on eucalyptus bark
178.5 x 65.0 cm (irregular)


Maningrida Arts and Culture, Northern Territory (cat. 4271-05, label attached verso)
Private collection, Adelaide


With an artistic career spanning over thirty years, John Mawurndjul is one of Australia’s most successful and innovative contemporary artists. Born at Mumeka, located near the Mann River in Central Arnhem Land (an important site for the Kurulk clan), Mawurndjul’s early painting lessons were painting bodies for dance and initiation ceremonies.

Originally painting well known figures and creatures in Kuningku mythology, he has over recent years developed a more metaphysical representation of specific sites, events and landscape with fine lineal clan designs spreading across the surface of his paintings. His paintings are now composed of vast expanses of rarrk (cross hatching) with many grids rendered in fine interlocking lines. Mawurndjul is constantly striving for new ways to interpret his country through the use of rarrk and clan designs. It is the representation of important locations and mapping within his clan site and djang that is most important to him.

The surface, beautifully executed in Mardayin Design, shows the complexity of Mawurndjul’s intricate rarrk skills.