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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Dr B Marika AO

1990
Anne Zahalka

type C Duraflex print on paper (sheet: 70.2 cm x 69.7 cm)
Image not available (NC)

Dr B Marika AO (1954–2021), printmaker, Yolngu leader and arts administrator, was a member of the renowned Marika family of artists and activists. She grew up in Yirrkala in north-east Arnhem Land and was taught painting by her father, Mawalan (1908–1967), an artist and statesman who in 1963 helped initiate Australia's first Aboriginal land rights case. She was among the first women to paint ancestral creation stories – a practice traditionally observed only by men. Moving to Sydney in 1980, she studied at the National Art School, also working as a translator and in film and television and later completing residencies at the Canberra School of Art and Flinders University in South Australia. Returning to Yirrkala in 1988, she became manager of the Buku-Larrnggay Arts Centre while continuing work as an artist and educator. She received the Australia Council's Red Ochre Award in 2002, and in 2005 won the Best Bark Prize at the Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Awards. Dr Marika served on boards for organisations including the Australia Council, the National Gallery of Australia and Bangarra Dance Theatre; and for more than two decades she was involved in education, conservation and advocacy work as a member of bodies such as the Northern Land Council and Landcare. In 1992, she established the Mawalan 1 Gamarrwa Nuwul Association for the management of Rirratjingu lands and was later involved in securing heritage protection for Yalangbara, a site of great cultural significance. Dr Marika was named an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2019, and she was the Northern Territory Australian of the Year for 2020.

Gift of Leo Christie 2003. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

Anne Zahalka (age 33 in 1990)

Dr B Marika AO (age 36 in 1990)

Subject professions

Activism

Visual arts and crafts

Donated by

Leo Christie (10 portraits)

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

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On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

The cook (Michael Schmidt/architect), 1987
The cook (Michael Schmidt/architect), 1987
The cook (Michael Schmidt/architect), 1987
The cook (Michael Schmidt/architect), 1987

Hall of mirrors

Magazine article by Naomi Cass, 2007

Naomi Cass, Director of the Centre of Contemporary Photography, in conversation with Anne Zahalka.

The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

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