Kurrurldurl under Wak Wak
Kurrurldurl under Wak Wak

John Mawurndjul

1952 - Kurrurldurl under Wak Wak 2009
  • ochre and fixative on bark
79 cm x 199 cm

Painter and sculptor, John Mawurndjul is one of the leading Aboriginal Australian artists.

Mawurndjul's work has always dealt with themes of spirituality, mythology and life cycle. In this work he has depicted a site of ritual significance named Kurrurldurl, where Ngalyod, the rainbow serpent, resides under the water. Ngalyod has both powers of creation and destruction and is most strongly associated with rain, monsoon seasons and rainbows which are manifestations of his power and presence.

Ngalyod has remained a central theme in his work but over the last 20 years he has concentrated on more abstract painting associated with the Mardayin ceremony - a now rarely performed sacred ceremony with clan identity and mortuary themes.

John Mawurndjul's art has been included in major overseas exhibitions dealing with Aboriginal Australian art such as Dreamings in New York (1988), Crossroads in Japan (1992), Aratjara: Art of the first Australians, Germany and UK (1993-94) and In the heart of Arnhem Land in France (2001).

In 2000, his work was featured at the Sydney Biennale and in 1999 and his work was included in the landmark survey exhibition Crossing Country, the Alchemy of Western Arnhem Land at the AGNSW.

In 2005, he was honoured with a major retrospective at the Musee Jean Tinguely in Basel Switzerland and in 2006 he was awarded a large scale commission for the Musee du Quai Branly in Paris.

A major retrospective of the art of John Mawurndjul I am the old and the new is presented by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney and the Art Gallery of South Australia in 2018.

Source: Maningrida Arts and Culture

© John Mawurndjul/Copyright Agency, 2018

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The Wesfarmers Collection of Australian Art acknowledges all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Traditional Custodians of Country and recognises their continuing connection to land, sea, culture and community. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

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