DETAIL : Jimmy BAKER 'Katatjita' 2006 synthetic polymer paint on canvas, Courtesy of Marshall Arts Aboriginal Fine Art Gallery, � Jimmy Baker
John MAWURNDJUL | Mardayin at Milmilngkan

Australia 1952
Mardayin at Milmilngkan 2006
Bark painting
natural earth pigments on stringybark
180.0 (h) x 52.0 (w) cm
Purchased 2007
NGA 2007.195
© John Mawurndjul, courtesy Maningrida Arts & Culture

Lorrkon or hollow log coffins are central to the funeral ceremony practiced by the Kuninjku people of Western Arnhem Land. The hollow logs, which housed the ochred bones of the deceased person, were painted with clan designs and placed into the ground where they were left to decay naturally. Mawurndjul’s work makes reference to a major secret and sacred ceremony called a Mardayin. The meaning of his work is restricted and not for public knowledge.

The thin and delicate rarrk (crosshatching) done by Mawurndjul is amazingly and uniformly maintained across the whole length of a hollow log. His hollow logs reverberate with the power of ancestral beings who inhabit Western Arnhem Land and demonstrate Mawurndjul’s masterful and dynamic arrangement of rarrk.