• Artist
    attributed to Makani Wilingarr
  • Title
    Djarrapung rarrk (Monsoonal Cloud design)
  • Date of Production
    1937
  • Medium
    Natural pigments on eucalyptus bark
  • Dimensions
  • Credit Details
    The Donald Thomson Collection. The University of Melbourne and Museum Victoria

Ancestral Power and the Aesthetic


Saturday, August 11, 2012 - Sunday, September 16, 2012, 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Ian Potter Foundaiton Gallery
Admission: Free


Arnhem Land paintings and objects from the Donald Thomson Collection

This remarkable exhibition puts on show for the first time the bark paintings collected by Donald Thomson in the 1930s and early 1940 - some of the oldest and rarest examples of these works in existence.

The Donald Thomson Collection features works by legendary Yolngu figure Djapu clan leader Wonggu and the exhibition includes the first bark painting Donald Thomson collected and the brushes and palette that Wonggu used to produce it.

These extraordinary paintings and other painted objects illustrate differences in painting styles between Dhuwa and Yirritja clans and between those of central and eastern Arnhem Land.

The paintings include rare works depicting body designs on a human scale or larger and as a group reveal the diversity of madayin minytji or sacred ancestral clan designs from across Arnhem Land.

Professor Donald Thomson was a biologist and anthropologist at the University of Melbourne who went to Arnhem Land in 1935 to study the ceremonies and customs of the various clans, collecting around 4,500 objects and took over 2000 black and white images.

The works on display are powerful examples of a rich Yolngu artistic heritage with their extraordinary combinations of bold designs, patterns, and colour; and extremely rare items like the painting that depicts an image of one of the Djan'kawu Sisters ancestors in human form.

Ancestral Power and the Aesthetic: Arnhem Land paintings and objects from the Donald Thomson is a Museum Victoria touring exhibition. This exhibition is supported by Visions of Australia, an Australian Government program supporting touring exhibitions by providing funding assistance for the development and touring of Australian cultural material across Australia. This exhibition is indemnified by the Victorian Government through Arts Victoria.

MV_CMYK_POS           Visions -of -Australia