"Art and Country and environment are all one. You can’t separate those three things from each other. Art talks about heritage. Country, in Australia, is divided between thousands of Indigenous people from Western Australia right across to Northern Queensland. Every clan that ever existed in this country has their own Country, and their own environmental stories. And why are these three elements so important to protect today? It’s an identification. It’s about you knowing who you are, where you’ve come from, and where your ancestors are from. Without those identities, you are nobody, you don’t exist."
– BANDUK MARIKA AO
The gridded patterns in this painting are the miny'tji (designs) belonging to the Rirratjiŋu clan. These designs relate to the arrival of the important Dhuwa ancestral beings known as the Djan'kawu. These two sisters and their brother arrived on the beach of Yalaŋbara from the spirit realm of Burralku. The shimmer of the patterns symbolizes the saltwater drying off their skin in the warming rays of the sun.
This painting was winner of the Bark Painting Award at the 22nd National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards in 2005.
Listen to Banduk Marika speak on the importance of art, environment and Country:
– Buku-Larrŋgay Mulka Centre
Natural pigments on eucalyptus bark
65 x 19 11/16
165 x 50
Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory.
Purchased 2005. Telstra Collection. Abart-1830
About The Artist(s)
In 1972, Banduk Marika moved away from Yirrkala, first to Darwin and then to Sydney, to pursue her artistic career. Best known as a printmaker, she held residencies at Canberra School of Art and Flinders University. In 1988, she returned to Yirrkala to manage the Buku-Larrŋgay Mulka Centre. In 2005, she received the bark painting prize at the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards. In 2018, she was awarded an honorary doctorate from Flinders University, and in 2019, she was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia.
Australian Catholic University
Australian National Maritime Museum
Australian National University
Flinders University Museum of Art
Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of the University of Virginia
Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory
South Australian Museum