An exhibition of stunning bark paintings from a private collection presented in association with the Drill Hall Gallery, Canberra.
Heart of Country brings together the work of four generations of Indigenous artists from Arnhem Land and beyond, from the private collection of Donna-Marie Kelly and Andrew Dyer.
Rich in stories, history and culture, there is much to learn from the bark paintings that not only depict Country; they are made from it. The “heart” of this exhibition is the relationship to Country expressed in diverse and sometimes oblique ways by four generations of Indigenous artists from Arnhem Land and beyond. Core works come from a remarkable private collection of bark paintings assembled by Donna-Marie Kelly and Andrew Dyer, featuring some of the finest painters of Arnhem Land who are shown in strength – Yirawala, Bobby Barrdjaray Nganjmirra and Wally Mandarrk.
This collection musters compelling evidence that, alongside the clear continuity of tradition in bark painting, there is also an openness to innovation. In recent decades, since women began producing bark paintings in quantity, the aesthetic is evidently shifting in surprising ways. A cohort of women is represented by major works – by the Yunupingu sisters, Nongirrna Marawili and Mulkun Wirrpanda.