Painted in Western Arnhem Land, NT
Mary Macha, WA
Private Collection, Vic
Peter Marralwanga, was a student of David Yirawala (1903-1976), and in turn influenced a whole generation of Kuninjku artists, including John Mawurndjul. Marralwanga pioneered the Western Arnhem Land style of painting with its plain unadorned background, X-ray view of the internal organs, and varied cross-hatched clan patterns (rarrk) to create new and eye-catching effects. This work is a perfect example of the technique. The bark is dominated by the large shape of a plains kangaroo in an eye catching pose. Two dancing mimi spirits appear as part of a ceremony. They were the original inhabitants of Western Arnhem Land, taught hunting and fishing skills and gave power totems to Marralwanga's forbears.
Cf. For a painting of a large scale subject set against a background of blocks of colour, see Ngalyod and Yawkyawk, 1983, in the Holmes a' Court Collection, illustrated in Perkins, H. (ed), Crossing Country: The Alchemy of Western Arnhem Land Art, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 2004, p. 63.Share