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John Mawurndjul

Mardayin at Dilebang - 2008

natural earth pigments on Eucalyptus bark
130.0 x 52.0 cm
Price Realised: $12,000.00

MP #292


Maningrida Arts and Culture, NT Cat No. 1239-08
Private Collection, NSW


Cf. For an image of the artist painting a very similar work see Rarrk: John Mawurndjul, Journey Through Time in Northern Australia, Museum Tinguely, Basel, 2005, p. 42

Born at Mumeka, located near the Mann River in Central Arnhem Land, an important site for the Kurulk clan, John Mawurndjurl was taught to paint by his elder brother Jimmy Njiminjuma and his uncle Peter Marralwanga. Today he guides the development of his children and his niece Irenie Ngalinba, Jimmy Njiminjuma's daughter. 


Originally painting mythological figures such as the Ngalyod the Rainbow serpent and totemic creatures, he later developed a more abstract style with many grid forms interlocking over the entire surface, as depicted in Mardayin Design, where the complex composition of Mawurndjul's intricate rarrk skills is evident.


In this work Mawurndjul has depicted the design associated with 

Mardayin at Milmilngkan where the Rainbow Serpent(Ngalyod) resides under the water in the billabong.  Ngalyod is recognised in Kuninjku cosmology as the creator of all of their sacred sites imbued with powerful spirit (Djang). Ngalyod has the powers of creation and destruction and is associated with rain, monsoon seasons and rainbows which are manifestations of his power and presence, and consequently, fertility and abundance. 


John Mawurndjul's crosshatched design (rarrk) contains Mardayin power and thereby eminates this powerful presence.