David Malangi

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David Malangi (1927 – 19 June 1999[1]) was an Indigenous Australian Yolngu artist from the Northern Territory. He was one of the most well known bark painters from Arnhem Land and a significant figure in contemporary Indigenous Australian art. He was born at Mulanga, on the east bank of the Glyde River.

He painted on clear, red ochre or black backgrounds. He used much broader and bolder brushstrokes than other Arnhem Land bark painters. His work includes depictions of the sea eagle, crow, snake and goanna.

Malangi represented Australia at the São Paulo Art Biennial in 1983. He contributed ten hollow logs for the Aboriginal Memorial at the National Gallery of Australia in 1988. He travelled to New York in 1988 as part of the Dreamings exhibition of Aboriginal art. In July 2004 an exhibition opened of David Malangi's work at the National Gallery of Australia called No Ordinary Place.[2]

Australian one dollar note[edit]

The reproduction of one of his designs appeared on the reverse of the Australian one dollar note in 1966.[3] This was done originally without his knowledge, acknowledged in 1967 with the release of the Australian five dollar note, he was later financially compensated after intervention by the Governor of the Reserve Bank, Dr H. C. Coombs, as well as receiving a specially struck medal.[4] The image depicts the mortuary feast of the ancestral hunter Gurrmirringu.

The payment by the Reserve Bank to Malangi began issues of Aboriginal copyright in Australia.[citation needed].


  1. ^ "Collection – David Malangi". Art Gallery of NSW. Retrieved 25 April 2013. 
  2. ^ http://www.abc.net.au/canberra/stories/s1166972.htm
  3. ^ "David Malangi". The Australian Art Print Network. Retrieved 7 February 2011. 
  4. ^ "No ordinary place: the art of David Malangi". National gallery of Australia. Retrieved 7 February 2011.