Maningrida Arts & Culture

Maningrida is a self-governing Indigenous community based in the heart of Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory. Its name is derived from the Kunibídji name Manayingkarírra, which refers to “the place where the Dreaming changed shape.” Maningrida Arts and Culture (MAC) is recognised for its quality and innovative Indigenous art and is home to renowned bark painter and sculptor, John Mawurndjul.

The exhibition Spiritual Beings at Art Atrium feature the sculptural works of four senior artists from Maningrida – Ivan Namirrkki, Lena Yarinkura, Samson Bonson and Kenan Namunjdja.

Kuninjku artist Ivan Namirrkki was born in 1961 and was taught to paint by his father Peter Marralwanga (1917–1987) – a renowned bark painter.  In 2006 he was a Finalist in the National Gallery of Victoria’s Clemenger Contemporary Art Prize and he was a Finalist in the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Awards at Museum and Art Gallery Northern Territory, Darwin in 2009, 2008, 2005, 2003, 2002 & 2001. He exhibited in Crossing Country at Art Gallery of NSW in 2004. His work is in the collection of Art Gallery of New South Wales, National Gallery of Victoria, Art Gallery of South Australia, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Art bank and other public institutions.

Lena Yarinkura was born in 1960 and is renowned for her ambitious and highly distinctive pandanus and paperbark fibre sculptures. Yarinkura diverged from the more conventional fibre work of her contemporaries to become one of the first Arnhem Land women to work with fibre in a sculptural way. She had a solo exhibition at Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney in 2017 and she had exhibited in National Indigenous Triennial at National Gallery of Australia in 2012, Biennale of Sydney 2000 and in Tarnanthi at Art Gallery of South Australia in 2020 & 2017. She was a Finalist in the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Awards at Museum and Art Gallery Northern Territory, Darwin in 2022, 2019, 2016, 2010, 2007, 2005, 2004, 2002 & 1997. Her work is in the collection of Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of South Australia, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Art bank and other public institutions.

Samson Bonson (b.1968), a Gurrgoni sculptor, was taught in the late 1990’s by Crusoe Kurddal, a notable maker of mimih spirit carvings. Bonson is known for the refined carvings and the minute nature of his pointillist decoration on the main body of his mimih carvings. He was a Finalist in the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Awards at Museum and Art Gallery Northern Territory, Darwin in 2022, 2012, 2009 & 2008. His work is in the collection of the British Museum.

Kenan Namunjdja is the eldest son of artists Bulanj (1965-2018) and Deborah Yulidjirri and grandson of Peter Marralwanga (1916-1987). Trained by his father who was nationally and internationally recognised for his particularly fine rarrk and depiction of the kunkurra (spiralling wind). He was the Winner of Primavera Veolia Acquisitive Award in 2020 and he had exhibited in Primavera 2019: Young Australian Artists at Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney.

Artists who had previously participated in the exhibition Dawning at Art Atrium include Irenie Ngalinba, Susan Marawarr, Debra Wurrkidj, Emmanuel Wurrkidj, Hamish Karrkarrhba, Elyssa Cameron, Aileena Lamanga, Dion Wurrkidj and Annie Wurrkidj.

Dawning Artists from Maningrida Arts & Culture Exhibition Opening launched by Jennifer Isaacs AM

Artwork