Zadok Ben-David’s fine and exquisite sculptures play with shadow and light. So typical of his work, Up and Above explores the renewal and connectedness of natural forms.
Ben-David is an internationally acclaimed London-based artist. Born in Yemen and raised in Israel, he studied at London’s St. Martin’s School of art, where he also taught from 1977-1982. In 1988 he was selected to exhibit as Israel’s representative at the Venice Biennale.
John Mawurndjul is one of the most senior artists working in the Maningrida region of Central Arnham Land and one of our country’s leading Aboriginal artists, renowned for his innovative ‘raark’ stye of rhythmic, cross-hatching, derived from the Mardayin ceremony and traditional body painting. Mawurndjul’s innovative treatment of these designs has involved a gradual movement into deeper abstraction and amplification of the shimmering, mesmerising qualities of his layered fine lines and multidirectional bands of colour.
In 2006 the artist was invited to create two original pieces for installation at the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris: these works form part of the very fabric of the building with a breathtaking ceiling by Mawurndjul accompanied by a large column that he painted in the signature style of his Lorrkon or hollow logs.
One of the first two Indigenous artists to represent Australia at the 1990 Venice Biennale, Rover Thomas’ works sparked a greater appreciation of Aboriginal art, both nationally and internationally.
A desert man, the story of his life is interwoven with that of the Canning Stock Route. Thomas was born in the 1920s and raised in the Country around its middle stretches. At an early age he was picked up by a drover, Wally Dowling, and taken north to Billiluna and the Kimberley. He became a stockman himself, and eventually married and settled at Turkey Creek. There, in the 1970s, he pioneered the East Kimberley school of ochre painting on canvas.
One of the most celebrated Australian Aboriginal artists of the twentieth century, Yirawala was a seminal figure in the contemporary bark painting movement. He was a man of high ritual authority who worked tirelessly to communicate the value of his culture to outside audiences through his art.
Yirawala was the most influential of the artists in the Croker Island ‘school’ of bark painting in the 1950s and 1960s. He was a Kuninjku ritual leader with access to a vast amount of religious iconography, whose bark paintings featured the shimmering rarrk (cross-hatching) patterns of the Mardayin ceremony. With their origins in ceremonial body painting, rarrk designs are associated with the power of the Ancestor beings. Yirawala’s style of painting, which included these designs to dazzling effect, influenced many of the best-known bark painters working today.
Yirawala’s influence on the genre has been significant. In 1971 he was appointed a Member of the British Empire for his services to Aboriginal art. The National Gallery of Australia made a major acquisition of 139 of his paintings in 1976, and his work is held in all Australian state art collections today, as well as many important international collections. In 2013 he was one of two artists highlighted as major figures in the history of bark painting in the National Museum of Australia’s exhibition, ‘Old Masters: Australia’s Great Bark Artists’.
Gulumbu Yunupingu was an Australian Aboriginal artist and women’s leader from the Yolngu people of Arnhem Land, in the Northern Territory of Australia. Born in Gunyungarra, Northern Territory, Yunupingu was a member of the Gumatj clan and spoke the Gumatj language. She was a sister of Aboriginal leader Galarrwuy Yunipingu and Mandawuy Yunipingu, the singer from rock band Yothu Yindi.
Her art has been widely exhibited all around the world, including the newly restored $370 million Quai Branly Museum in Paris. Her work is also exhibited in the National Gallery of Australia and she has won many awards for her work. In 2004 she won the 21st National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award for a piece entitled Garak, The Universe, which consists of three memorial poles, decorated in her own style, which combines traditional Yolngu designs with her own modern interpretation. In 2012, a painting on wood titled Garrurru (Sail), weighing a tonne and measuring seven by three metres, was installed at the Australian National University.