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Charlie Mardigan

Untitled - 1968

natural earth pigment on Eucalyptus bark
64.5 x 22.5(irregula
Price Realised: $2,928.00

MP #398


Painted at Wadeye (Port Keats), NT
Aboriginal and Pacific Art, Vic
Private Collection, Vic

64.5 x 22.5 cm (irregular)

Charlie Mardigan belonged to the Marringarr people who lived in the Fitzmaurice and Daly Rivers region south-west of Darwin in Australia's far north. A Christian mission was established to service this region at Port Keats (Wadeye) in 1935 when Mardigan was 9 years of age. It serviced a number of neighbouring groups that had strong cultural connections with each other and with desert peoples who shared the old traditional trade routes. All of these influences can be seen in Wadeye art.


Painting on bark was not part of the artistic traditions of the people of the Wadeye region prior to this period. Artists were introduced to bark in the 1950s by missionaries who recognised the growing market for bark paintings from Arnhem Land. Charlie Mardigan became a leading exponent and his bark paintings were renowned for expressions of the orderly nature of the universe, and of human society.