Wandjuk Marika

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Wandjuk Marika
Born circa 1930 (1930)
Died 16 June 1987 (aged 56–57)
Monuments Wandjuk Marika 3D Memorial Award
Other names Wandjuk Djuwakan Marika, MBE, Eldest Son of Mawalan, Wondjuk, Wanjug, Wondjug, Djuakan
Known for Painting, Indigenous Australian art

Wandjuk Marika OBE (c. 1930–1987), was an Australian Aboriginal painter, actor, composer and land rights activist. He was a member of the Riratjingu clan of the Yolngu people of north-east Arnhem Land, Northern Australia.[1][2][3]

His paintings expressed his people's traditional religious beliefs, and included Djang'kawu Story (1960) and Birth of the Djang'kawu Children of Yelangbara (1982).[2][4] Djang'kawu is the founding ancestor of the Riratjingu in traditional stories.[1]

He co-founded the Aboriginal Arts Board in 1973, and became Chairman in 1976.[5] He was appointed an [Officer of the Order of the British Empire]] that same year.[6]

His name was given to the Wandjuk Marika 3D Memorial Award, a category of the prestigious National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award, awarded annually by the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory.[7] His portrait hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra,[8] and several of his paintings feature in the Art Gallery of New South Wales.[2]

As an actor, Marika appeared in the films Where the Green Ants Dream (1984) and Initiation (1987). He also appeared in the television miniseries Women of the Sun. He was both actor and composer in Where the Green Ants Dream.[9]

He was the author of The Aboriginal Children's History of Australia.[10]

Marika wrote frequent but unsuccessful letters to the Australian federal government to protest against mining activities on Yolngu lands.[2]

Wandjuk Marika was the uncle of Raymattja Marika.[6]

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ a b MARIKA, Wandjuk, "Foreword", in ISAACS, Jennifer, Australian Dreaming: 40,000 Years of Aboriginal History, 1980, ISBN 0-7254-0884-7, p.5
  2. ^ a b c d Wandjuk Marika, AGNSW collection record, Art Gallery of New South Wales
  3. ^ "Wandjuk Marika", Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 1 December 2003
  4. ^ "Wandjuk Marika", The Concise Grove Dictionary of Art, Oxford University Press
  5. ^ Australia Council, Annual Report, 1976/77 (Canberra: AGPS, 1978), pp 7 and 8.
  6. ^ a b "Wandjuk Marika", Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 1 December 2003
  7. ^ "24th Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award", Northern Territory government website
  8. ^ National Portrait Gallery
  9. ^ Wandjuk Marika on IMDB
  10. ^ MARIKA, Wandjuk, The Aboriginal Children's History of Australia, Rigby, ISBN 0-7270-0236-8, 1977

External links[edit]