John Mawurndjul, John Mawurndjul: I am the old and the new, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney, 2018 © John Mawurndjul / Copyright Agency, 2019, Photograph: Jacquie Manning.
John Mawurndjul AM (born 1952, Kubukkan near Marrkolidjban, western Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia) is celebrated for his mastery of rarrk (cross-hatching) and his depiction of djang (sacred sites and totemic emblems), a tradition shared by generations of Kuninjku artists.
The artist has led the development of this exhibition, which describes in Kuninjku (and English) his places of special cultural significance known as kunred, as well as the sacred places and spirits – or djang – that resurface time and time again in his art-making. We also encounter the animals and spirit beings that populate these locations including female water spirits (yawkyawk), rainbow serpents (ngalyod) and mischievous mimih spirits.
This exhibition was developed and co-presented by the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) and Art Gallery of South Australia (AGSA), in association with Maningrida Arts & Culture. The touring exhibition, which is organised by the MCA, includes over 50 works, spanning forty years of the artist’s practice.
John Mawurndjul: I am the old and the new has been assisted by the Australian Government’s Visions of Australia Program.
Exhibition opens: 27 July 2019