Highly respected senior Yolngu artist and elder, Nonggirrnga Marawili is regarded as one of the most important contemporary Australian artists, whose bold and highly sophisticated artworks reflect an innate understanding of culture, history, and the environment.
Using natural materials such as earth ochres combined with a striking use of pink ink from recycled print toner cartridges, Marawili's practice alludes to her strong cultural ties, whilst simultaneously crossing artistic boundaries. The integration of recycled ink alongside ochre first emerged in Marawili’s works in 2017, marking an important development in her artistic practice, and one which aligns with the Maḏarrpa philosophy ‘if you paint the land you should use the land’.
Winner of the coveted Bark Painting Award at the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards in both 2015 and 2019, and of the Roberts Family Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Prize as part of the Wynne Prize at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney in 2019, Marawili’s extraordinary career continues to reach new heights.
In 2018 the Art Gallery of New South Wales presented a major solo exhibition From my Heart and Mind by Nonggirrngaa Marawili, a significant exhibition and accompanying publication that spanned the artist’s career with a focus on the previous five years. In 2020, Marawili was selected to participate in the prestigious NIRIN, Biennale of Sydney, exhibiting a major installation at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), as well as at Campbelltown Arts Centre.
In 2021 Marawili was short-listed for the 38th Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards, as well as being announced as a finalist in both the $100,000 Hadley’s Art Prize in Hobart, Tasmania and the Wynne Prize at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney. Her works were included in a major landmark exhibition presented by the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra entitled Know My Name: Australian Women Artists 1900 to Now and in an exhibition at the ARTIZON Museum (formerly Bridgestone Museum of Art) in Tokyo, Japan entitled STEPS AHEAD. In addition to presenting a sell-out solo exhibition at Alcaston Gallery, titled ḎÄL – Resilience, Marawili was also included in the exhibition Bark Ladies at NGV International in Melbourne, a landmark exhibition celebrating the NGV’s extraordinary collection of bark paintings and larrakitj (painted hollow poles) by women artists working out of the Yolngu-run art centre, Buku Larrngay Mulka Centre (Buku).
In 2022 one of Nonggirrnga Marawili’s barks was acquired by the Tate Modern in London and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, as part of the International Joint Acquisition Program for contemporary Australian art between the two prominent art institutions.
© The Artist, Buku Larrnggay Mulka NT and Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne 2022
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