attributed to Makani Wilingarr
Djarrapung rarrk (Monsoonal Cloud design)
- Date of Production
Natural pigments on eucalyptus bark
- 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 -
Ian Potter Foundaiton Gallery
Arnhem Land paintings and objects from the Donald Thomson
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
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
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.