Don Nakadilinj Namundja’s language is Kunwinjku and he lives and works at Oenpelli in Western Arnhem Land and at a bush camp called Gudjamandi. He has land in the King River area just east of Gunbalanya. His name Nakadilinj is made of the male prefix Na and the name kadilinj, for a sacred place of water at Mankorlod.
In the past he would regularly travel to Kapalwarnmyo on the upper reaches of the Mann River to sit down and paint with the late Bardayal Nadjamerrek AO at his outstation. Nakadilinj’s family style of painting belongs to the same school as the Nadjamerrek family, the foundation of which resides within the rock art of the region.
His first solo show in 2004 met with much acclaim, and as quoted by Nicholas Rothwell for The Australian newspaper:
‘By any standards this debut exhibition is worthy of sustained attention in the national media.’
The National Gallery of Australia acquired two works from the RAFT Artspace in Darwin. Nakadilinj was selected for the prestigious National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards in Darwin in 2003, 2005 and 2006.
Nakadilinj works in ochres on bark and paper. His work is direct and simple in contrast to the dynamic style of his peers. His paintings focus on essential shapes and arrangements of plants animals and ritual objects that have relationships with the natural and spiritual world. His paintings identify the ancestors, animals and plants found at his birthplace at Mankorlod. Objects seem to hover above the red ochre ground as if floating in air or water.
His signature images are animals such as possum, sugar glider and flying fox, which are important within Kardbam clan mythology and reference an important area for his clan in Central Arnhem Land.
Nakadilinj made three etchings produced by Basil Hall Editions, which were shown at Sydney’s Art on Paper Fair in 2005. In 2011 he began to use a medium new to him, screenprinting. The graphical qualities of his images are well suited to textiles as a substrate.
Nakadilinj with Kalarriya (Jimmy) Namarnyilk attends to the needs of the many researchers, archeologists, and academics. He often travels on senior ceremonial business and now lives at Oenpelli and works at Injalak Arts Centre.
Source: Nomad Art; Basil Hall Editions
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