Skip to main content
Menu

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.

The Gallery’s Acknowledgement of Country, and information on culturally sensitive and restricted content and the use of historic language in the collection can be found here.

James Iyuna

1986
Martin van der Wal

inkjet print on rag paper, edition 2/30 (sheet: 42.0 cm x 29.7 cm, image: 25.3 cm x 25.3 cm)

James Iyuna (1959-2012), bark painter, was one of four brothers who grew up at Mumeka, an isolated outstation situated on the Mann River in the Arnhem Land escarpment stretching along the southern extremity of Arnhem Land from Kakadu to Maningrida. Their father, a fishtrap maker, did not paint either on rock or bark, but taught them to make nets; their uncle, the prominent bark painter Peter Marralwanga, taught the brothers bark painting techniques. All four, but particularly John Mawurndjul, subsequently achieved fame as bark painters. Like Mawurndjul’s, James Iyuma’s intricately crosshatched works frequently feature Ngalyod, the rainbow serpent that guards sacred sites. Iyuna’s work featured in the major Art Gallery of New South Wales exhibition Crossing Country: the alchemy of western Arnhem Land art in 2004. With his wife Melba Gunjarrwanga, also an artist, Iyuna made a public artwork drawing on his knowledge of fishnet weaving for the Darwin Entertainment Centre in 2007.

Martin van der Wal called his series of photographs of Aboriginal artists Big Shots, referring both to the photographs themselves, and to the preeminence of his subjects.

Purchased 2005
© Martin van der Wal

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

Martin van der Wal (age 33 in 1986)

James Iyuna (age 27 in 1986)

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

© National Portrait Gallery 2022
King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia

Phone +61 2 6102 7000
Fax +61 2 6102 7001
ABN: 54 74 277 1196

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.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency