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Peter Marralwanga

Kolobarr the Kangaroo - c.1973

natural earth pigments on stringy bark
88.0 x 51.0 cm
Estimate Upon Request

MP #557


Painted in Western Arnhem Land, NT
Mary Macha, WA
Private Collection, Vic


Twentieth Century Aboriginal Art: A Myriad of Dreaming, Lauraine Diggins Fine Art, 18 September - 1st October 1989
Westpac Gallery, Victorian Art Centre, 4th - 22and October 1989
Design Warehouse, Surry Hills, NSW, 21st November 1989 -1990
Telling the Stories, From the Kimberley to Yirrkala, Lauraine Diggins Fine Art, Melbourne, May - June 2012, cat. no. 23


Twentieth Century Aboriginal Art: A Myriad of Dreaming, Lauraine Diggins Fine Art, 1989, 18 September - 1st October 1989, p. 28 pl.17

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.