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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.

David Malangi Daymirringu, 1986

Martin van der Wal

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

David Malangi Daymirringu (1927-1999), Manyarrngu (Yolgnu) bark painter, printer and designer, was born at Mulanga, near the mouth of the Glyde River, just before Christian missionaries arrived on the nearby island of Milingimbi. For some years he painted only for ritual purposes, but in the 1960s he began painting commercially as well. In 1966 he gained nationwide fame when one of his paintings was reproduced on the new $1 note (without his permission); in the first-ever assertion of ‘copyright’ of traditional designs, he protested, and was recompensed with a commemorative medallion, $1000 and some fishing equipment. In 1979 Malangi and fellow Ramingining artists George Milpurrurru and Johnny Bonguwuy became the first Aboriginal artists to show their work at the Biennale of Sydney. His work featured in Australian Perspecta at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in 1983 and Dreamings in New York in 1988; he travelled to the opening of the latter with Jimmy Wululu. Malangi created ten poles for the Aboriginal Memorial and was one of three Yolngu people who sang the work into place at the National Gallery in 1988. In 1998 he received an honorary doctorate from the Australian National University. The National Gallery staged No Ordinary Place: the art of David Malangi in 2004.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2005
© Martin van der Wal

Accession number: 2005.61.8

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Martin van der Wal (age 33 in 1986)

David Malangi (age 59 in 1986)

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

Café and shop

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.

Wainburranga (Paddy Fordham), 1986 Martin van der Wal
Wainburranga (Paddy Fordham), 1986 Martin van der Wal
Wainburranga (Paddy Fordham), 1986 Martin van der Wal
Wainburranga (Paddy Fordham), 1986 Martin van der Wal

Big shots

Magazine article by Djon Mundine OAM, 2017

Djon Mundine OAM brings poignant memory and context to Martin van der Wal’s 1986 portrait photographs of storied Aboriginal artists.

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Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia

Phone +61 2 6102 7000
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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.