Graham Badari – Life Forces
Life Forces brings together Graham Badari’s latest body of works, bursting with energy and colour. Graham Badari paints every day opposite Injalak Hill and the billabong where he makes acute observations on the different animals and plants that come with the changing seasons. His paintings show the influence of the visual language of their rock-art heritage, while remaining committed to artistic innovation. It is this beguiling balance of tensions, innovation and tradition, ancient and modern, beauty and terror, that energises Badari’s paintings.
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Catalogue: Graham Badari
Gabriel Maralngurra – Rock Art Style
“I want people to feel the spirits and the elders who were doing those styles when they look at my paintings. I want them to feel and touch how it was done, to see the past continuing in the present.” — Gabriel Maralngurra
Injalak curates Rock Art Style, a selection of art works by Gabriel Maralngurra. Gabriel was introduced to rock art by his uncle, Thompson Yulidjirri (c. 1930-2009), who took him to see the paintings on Injalak Hill when he was a child. Gabriel is inspired by the rock art galleries around West Arnhem Land which are often densely layered with paintings. West Arnhem Land rock art painting is a tradition which has been dated back to at least 45,000 years before the present.
Gabriel has an encyclopaedic knowledge of rock art and has depicted mimih spirits of various styles, contact-period ships and fresh water animals. Gabriel’s paintings in this catalogue encapsulate the history of West Arnhem Land. He utilises old and new materials, from natural ochres to Reckitt’s Blue laundry whitener. Maralngurra elaborately layers images to illustrate the long history of Kunwinjku art from ancestral times to the present.
Spirits of West Arnhem Land
Injalak curates a selection of art works encapsulating the unique styles of rarrk (cross hatching) and X-ray style figurative painting from West Arnhem Land. The origins of contemporary Kunwinjku painting can be found in the homes and shelters of the past as well as the ongoing ceremonial life of the Kunwinjku people. Many of today’s paintings are based on ancient rock art and paintings that were executed within traditional bark shelters, sharing stories of the Creation Ancestors and the animals that inhabit the floodplains, billabongs and stone escarpments of West Arnhem Land. Other contemporary paintings are adaptations of body paintings and designs from ceremonial objects such as Lorrkon (burial poles). Spirits of West Arnhem Land features works by Graham Badari, Gabriel Maralngurra, Isaiah Nagurrgurbba, Elijah Namirriki, Titus Nganmirra & Glen Namundja.
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Catalogue:Spirits of West Arnhem Land
Injalak Arts – Barks
Injalak curates a selection of art works on bark. The most common bark used for bark painting is from manbordokorr (Eucalyptus tetradonta or stringy bark). Bark for painting must be harvested when the sap is flowing freely in the tree and the bark is moist and supple. This is mostly during the Kunwinjku seasons of kudjewk (the wet season, around Decemeber to March) through to yekke (the cold season, from June to early July). The sheets are then flattened and dried over a fire or in the sun, and the surface smoothed with a piece of sandpaper, or with a knife. Knowledge of country and seasons is essential for Kunwinjku art.
Bark paintings from Oenpelli were first collected by Baldwin Spencer in 1912. The first 38 paintings were taken from the inside of wet season shelters. Over the following decade, another 170 or more bark paintings from Oenpelli and the Alligator Rivers area were commissioned by Paddy Cahill for the National Museum of Victoria. In the 1970s and 1980s bark paintings began to be marketed from Arnhem Land communities as contemporary art. Bark paintings from Injalak Arts have attracted the attention of the art world and the public at large; and recent generations of Arnhem Land bark painters continue to build on their artistic heritage, taking their art in new directions while building on past achievements.
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