Lightning and the Rock, 2014
What is guaranteed?
Born circa 1939
Lightning and the Rock, 2014
Earth pigments on bark
76 ¾ in by 20 1/16 in (194 by 51 cm)
The painting is on a large piece of slightly curved bark that has no hanging system. There is quite a severe crack in the surface, to the left of the midsection running approx 30 cm long that has been in-filled with what looks like some sort of traditional resin during the process of the barks preparation. The bark does have another crack in the surface running diagonally in for about 1 inch, about a third the way down the left edge. And a further substantial crack about 40 cm long, again partially infield with what looks like resin, in the lower section of the bark to the left of the middle. There are various small areas of white paint markings that may have been done at the time of the painting's creation. There are also minor scuffs and cracks in small areas around the edges of the painting and imperfections in the surface, though the majority of pigments appear in a good and stable condition.
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Buku-Larrŋgay Mulka Art Centre, Yirrkala, Northern Territory
Private Collection, acquired from the above
Noŋgirrŋa Marawili is a Maḏarrpa/Galpu woman from Baniyala in north-east Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory. She is a respected elder in her community who holds deep knowledge of Yolngu culture, ceremony and painting. For many years she assisted her husband, Djutjadjutja Mununggurr (circa 1935-1999) in painting, however from 2011 onwards he gave cultural permission for Marawili to produce works independently, holding her first solo exhibition, And I am Still Here, at Alcaston Gallery in Melbourne in 2013.
Working at the Buku-Larrnggay Mulka art center at Yirrkala in the Northern Territory, Marawili’s highly refined bark paintings of bold and resolved design take their inspiration from the elemental substances and transformative forces of the natural world: fire, water, lightning, and rock. "For the Yolngu people of eastern Arnhem Land, these ephemeral moments are the points where the ancestral world and the profane world meet, through which the beauty of the environment is given meaning." (Elina Spilia in Henry F. Skerritt, ed., Marking the Infinite: Contemporary Women Artists from Aboriginal Australia from the Debra and Dennis Scholl Collection, Reno and Munich, 2016, p. 34).
Marawili’s work has been shown in group and solo exhibitions held nationally and internationally. 2017 marked a year of extraordinary success for her, with inclusion in important exhibitions, including Defying Empire: 3rd National Indigenous Art Triennial at the National Gallery of Australia, TARNANTHI: Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art at the Art Gallery of South Australia, and Who’s Afraid of Colour at the National Gallery of Victoria.
A major solo exhibition which brought together works from across her career, From my Heart and Mind, spanned 2018-2019 at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, culminating in her winning The Roberts Family Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Prize in association with the Art Gallery of New South Wales’ Wynne Prize. In the same year she won the Telstra Bark Painting Award at the 36th Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Awards for the second time at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin.
In 2019-2020 a major installation by Marawili was unveiled at TARNANTHI: Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art, presented by the Art Gallery of South Australia in Adelaide. She also participated in NIRIN: 22nd Biennale of Sydney (14 March – 8 June 2020) with an installation of large bark paintings suspended from the ceiling at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia.
Her work is currently included in Know My Name: Australian Women Artists 1900 to Now, a landmark exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. An initiative of the gallery, Know My Name celebrates the work of all women artists with an aim to enhance understanding of their contribution to Australia’s cultural life, joining the global movement to increase the representation of women artists.
For a similar work in the National Gallery of Victoria, see Cara Pinchbeck, ed., Noŋgirrŋa Marawili: From my Heart and Mind, Sydney, 2018, pp. 20, 80 & 114.