Taking memories back – AGNSW

To highlight the unique collection held at the Art Gallery of New South Wales work from Milingimbi was shown in a major exhibition called Art from Milingimbi -Taking Memories Back during December 2016 – January 2017. The collection featured 62 exquisite bark paintings, as well as ceremonial and utilitarian sculptural objects. Milingimbi art from this period gives a unique insight into Yolngu culture and their makers connection to place.

Artwork from Milingimbi was first commissioned as early as 1912, and was collected during the 1920’s from the time the first Methodist missionaries arrived. By the 1960’s the centre was a leader in establishing the market for traditional Yolngu art in national and international collections. The Taking Memories back collection focusses on work from the 1950’s when many talented artists were working in the community.

“Gathered in groups in the shade of the tamarind trees, artists worked alongside one another, their individual approaches and shared visual language resulting in a distinctive style of painting of a quality and scale never before seen. These artists created exquisite bark paintings with jewel like surfaces that capture the complexities of land, sea, sky and cultural inheritance in the one seemingly abstracted image.” Taking Memories Back catalogue, Cara Pinchbeck

Artists Joyce Naliyabu, Michael Mungala, Raymond Balambula, Joe Dhamanydji opened the exhibition and shared the story of their ancestors in a talk.

Read more about Taking Memories Back in Masters revived in Art from Milingimbi by Nicolas Rothwell – The Australian J