Organized by the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection

Explore The Timeline

The oldest work in Maḏayin dates to July 1935, but the patterns and designs in these paintings are much older. They were laid down on Country when the first ancestors passed through the land, naming it. The designs tell of our identity, our kinship, and our destiny. 


Maḏayin traces the history of Yolŋu bark painting over the past eight decades, from the first time a Yolŋu artist painted on bark for outsiders, to today when bark painting is a globally acclaimed art movement.

How did the practice of Yolŋu art making change over time?

How did Yolŋu use art to win legal rights to their Country?

How has the relationship with ŋäpaki (non-Yolŋu) impacted Yolŋu art?

How did Yolŋu painters become some of Australia’s most successful contemporary artists?

Timeline research by Eleanore Neumann