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Portrait of Mawalan Marika
Title : Portrait of Mawalan Marika Portrait of Mawalan Marika
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Creator : Mountford, Charles P., photographer
Source : PRG 1218/34/3350
Date of creation : 1948
Format : Photograph
Dimensions : 60 x 60 mm
Contributor : State Library of South Australia
Catalogue record
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Copyright :

The Library received cultural clearance from the Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Art Centre, Yirrkala to display this image. Reproduction rights are owned by State Library of South Australia.
This image may be printed or saved for personal research or study. Use for any other purpose requires permission from the State Library of South Australia and Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Art Centre, Yirrkala. To request approval, complete the Permission to publish form.

Description :

Portrait of Mawalan Marika, an artist from Yirrkala, 1948.

A leader of ceremonies for the Rirratjingu language group, Mawalan Marika (1908-1967) was the keeper of some of the most important knowledge and lore. He is also reported as being the first Yolngu artist to share this knowledge, his painting designs and techniques, with a daughter.

"I remember sitting down grinding his stones ready for painting and mixing it with the bush orchid juice to keep the paint on the bark. So I saw him execute his works and he used to explain what he was doing." (in 'One sun, One moon: Aboriginal art in Australia')

This daughter (unnamed here because she is recently deceased) and one of his sons, Wandjuk, both went on to become highly regarded in the Australian art world.

As well as being exhibited in art galleries worldwide, the Marika family were instrumental in the artwork and text of the Yirrkala bark petitions presented to the Commonwealth Government in 1963.

Mountford described Mawalan as "a tribal leader of wisdom and integrity" and "an old man of strong personality with a deep knowledge of the secret life of the tribe." (Australian Aboriginal portraits)

Related names :

Marika, Mawalan

Coverage year : 1948
Place : Yirrkala
Region : Northern Territory
Further reading :

American-Australian Scientific Expedition to Arnhem Land, (1948). Records of the American-Australian scientific expedition to Arnhem Land, Melbourne : Melbourne University Press, 1956-1964

Berndt, Ronald M. and Phillips, E. S. (eds). The Australian Aboriginal heritage : an introduction through the arts, 2nd ed, Sydney : Australian Society for Education through the Arts in association with Ure Smith, 1978

Elkin, A. P., Berndt, Catherine and Ronald. Art in Arnhem Land, Melbourne : Cheshire, 1950

Hutcherson, Gillian. Djalkiri w nga = The land is my foundation : 50 years of Aboriginal art from Yirrkala, Northeast Arnhem Land, Nedlands, W.A. : The University of W.A. Berndt Museum of Anthropology, c1995

Lamshed, Max. 'Monty' : the biography of C.P. Mountford, Adelaide : Rigby, 1972

McKenzie, Maisie. Mission to Arnhem Land, Adelaide : Rigby, 1976

Marika, Wandjuk. Wandjuk Marika : life story, as told to Jennifer Isaacs. St. Lucia, Qld. : University of Queensland Press, 1995

Morphy, Howard. Ancestral connections : art and an aboriginal system of knowledge, Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 1991

Mountford, Charles P. Australian Aboriginal portraits, Carlton, Vic. : Melbourne University Press ; London : Cambridge University Press, 1967

National Geographic Magazine, vol. 96, no. 6, 1949, pp. 745-782, 'Exploring Stone-age Arnhem Land' by Charles P. Mountford.

Perkins, Hetti and West, Marie (eds). One sun one moon: Aboriginal art in Australia, Sydney : Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2007

Internet links :



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