Artists

Dhuwarrwarr Marika

Dhuwarrwarr Marika is a senior Yolngu woman from East Arnhem Land, a member of the Rirratjingu clan and part of a family 'dynasty' whom are accomplished artists and passionate advocates of indigenous rights. As a senior states person for her people, Dhuwarrwarr has been on numerous local and national committees, including being an executive member and women’s council representative for the Northern Land Council.

Region: Arnhem Land

DOB: c 1946

Art Centre: Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Centre


Dhuwarrwarr Marika is a senior Yolngu woman from East Arnhem Land, a member of the Rirratjingu clan and part of a family ‘dynasty’ whom are accomplished artists and passionate advocates of indigenous rights that included involvement in the historic Gove Land Right Case that led to the passing of the first land rights legislation in Australia. As a senior states person for her people, Dhuwarrwarr has been on numerous local and national committees, including being an executive member and women’s council representative for the Northern Land Council.

Dhuwarrwarr is the daughter of Mawalan 1 Marika (c 1908-1967). Her father was a highly influential ceremonial leader, political activist and artist. It was her father who broke convention by teaching his oldest daughters how to paint along with his sons. This paved the way for Yolngu women to eventually establish themselves as painters in their own right and today this legacy is continued on by his daughters Banduk and Dhuwarrwarr.

Dhuwarrwarr has devoted herself to a range of artistic, cultural and community-based activities throughout her life. Having completed school she worked as a nurse at Yirrkala, Darwin and then Sydney before returning home to pursue her artistic talents — learning basketry from her mother and aunt and then the basics of Rirratjingu painting from her father, Mawalan. She continues to depict many of his designs, although with her own interpretation, giving them a contemporary look.

Her earliest paintings were done in the 1970s and over time Dhuwarrwarr artistic path included bark painting, carver, mat maker and print maker. She has also done murals for community buildings at Yirrkala, for Darwin Airport, the Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education, and the Atherton School in Queensland.

Her work has been consistently represented in group shows since the late 1980s and is represented in most Australian state galleries.

Source: The Marika family - National Museum Australia (NMA)


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