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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.

John Mawurndjul, 2005

R. Ian Lloyd

inkjet print on paper (sheet: 51.7 cm x 60.7 cm, image: 35.3 cm x 53.0 cm)

John Mawurndjul (b. 1952) is a Kuningkju-speaking man who lives near Maningrida, one of the Northern Territory's oldest and best-equipped art centres. Over the past twenty-five years has become acknowledged as Australia's greatest living bark painter and one of its most important artists in any medium. Photographed the day before flying to Paris to work on a commission for the Quai Branly museum in 2005, the following year Mawurndjul became the only Australian artist to have been given a retrospective by two leading European museums - the Tinguely in Basel and the Sprengel in Hanover. The delicate traceries of lines - called rarrk - in his paintings are drawn from the Mardayin ceremony, a sacred and secret rite of the Kuningkju culture. Raark lines take weeks to paint in a mixture of ochre, water and glue with a brush made out of only a few long hairs, but John McDonald writes that the calm artist gives every appearance of having 'all the time in the world'.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of R. Ian Lloyd 2010
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
© R. Ian Lloyd/Copyright Agency, 2020

Accession number: 2010.84

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

R. Ian Lloyd (age 52 in 2005)

John Mawurndjul (age 53 in 2005)

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

Donated by

R. Ian Lloyd (5 portraits)

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.

Luke Scibberas, Hill End NSW, 2004
Luke Scibberas, Hill End NSW, 2004
Luke Scibberas, Hill End NSW, 2004
Luke Scibberas, Hill End NSW, 2004

Artists' space

Magazine article by John McDonald, 2007

Studio: Australian Painters Photographed by R. Ian Lloyd presents 61 of some of Australia’s most respected and significant painters working in the studio environment.

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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.