John Mawurndjul

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
John Mawurndjul
Born 1952
Residence Maningrida, Northern Territory, Australia
Other names Mowundjul, Mawandjul, Mowandjul, Mowundjal, Mawundjurl, Mawurndjurl, Johnny Mawurndjul
Known for Painting, Contemporary Indigenous Australian art
Rainbow serpent by John Mawurndjul, 1991. Musée du quai Branly, Paris.

John Mawurndjul (born 1952) is an Australian contemporary Indigenous artist. Mawurndjul's artwork is highly regarded internationally.[1] He uses traditional motifs in innovative ways to express spiritual and cultural values.

He is a member of the Kuninjku people of West Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, and grew up with only occasional contact with non-indigenous people and culture. He is currently living a traditional lifestyle at an outstation near Maningrida which includes hunting and a continuation of his paintings.[1]


He was tutored in rarrk, a traditional painting technique using fine cross-hatching and infill,[2] by his uncle Peter Marralwanga[3] and began producing small paintings on bark. During the 1980s he began producing larger and more complex works, and in 1988 won a Rothmans Foundation Award. Since then he has been included in major exhibitions in Australia and overseas (primarily in Japan and Europe). In 2000, Mawurndjul's work was amongst that of eight individual and collaborative groups of Indigenous Australian artists shown in the prestigious Nicholas Hall at the Hermitage Museum in Russia. The exhibition received a positive reception from Russian critics, one of whom wrote:

This is an exhibition of contemporary art, not in the sense that it was done recently, but in that it is cased in the mentality, technology and philosophy of radical art of the most recent times. No one, other than the Aborigines of Australia, has succeeded in exhibiting such art at the Hermitage.[4]

His work was subsequently the subject of a major retrospective in Basel (2005) and in Hanover's Sprengel Museum (2006).

2003 saw Mawurndjul named by Australian Art Collector magazine as one of the country's 50 most collectible artists.[5] His works have been singled out for praise by many critics, including Art Gallery of New South Wales senior curator Hetti Perkins, and artist Danie Mellor.[2]


Mawurndjul is represented in many major public collections, including: Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of South Australia, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Artbank, Ballarat Fine Art Gallery, Djomi Museum, Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of the University of Virginia, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Museum of Contemporary Art, National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Victoria, National Maritime Museum, and Queensland Art Gallery.

His work was shown in a temporary exhibition at Sprengel Museum in Hanover, Germany.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Christopher Allen (18 May 2010). "Flowing lines and powerful energy". The Australian. News Limited. Retrieved 31 May 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Keenan, Catherine (28 August 2010). "An outsider joins the dots". The Sydney Morning Herald Spectrum. pp. 6–7. 
  3. ^ Taylor 2015, p. 112.
  4. ^ Grishin, Sasha (15 April 2000). "Aboriginal art makes it to the top". Canberra Times. 
  5. ^ "50 Most Collectible Artists". Australian Art Collector. 23. Jan–Mar 2003. Archived from the original on March 9, 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-23. 
  6. ^


Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]