In 2018, The Museum of Contemporary Art gifted Australian audiences with a survey exhibition of John Mawurndjal AM, one of Australia’s leading practitioners of raark crosshatch painting. Containing over 150 works of art, I Am The Old And The New introduced a new generation to Mawurndjul’s paintings, while significantly raising awareness of art from the Maningrida region of East Arnhem Land. To coincide with Mawurndjal’s landmark MCA show, Michael Reid Sydney assembled a sister exhibition, commencing what was to become a significant and ongoing collaboration on a global scale. Five years later, we proudly present our very first Murrurundi exhibition of sculptural work by artists from Maningrida Arts & Culture.
For this exhibition, eight prominent artists invite us to enter the spirit realm of West Arnhem Land through their highly skilled and culturally informed depictions of Djang (dreaming stories). The Mimih Spirits and Yawkyawk sculptures showing in this exhibition speak directly to each artist’s connection to Djang, an eternal, transformative power accounting for every aspect of existence.
This exhibition brings us works of art by returning artists Samson Bonson, Ivan Namirrkki, Simon Namunjdja and Don Djorlom. Also showing is one new work by Owen Yalandja, a senior artist whose Michael Reid Sydney exhibition sold out in just eight minutes earlier this year. Joy Garlbin presents several distinct Mimih Spirit works in a striking black and white palette, who is joined by Sonia Namarnyilk, presenting a single piece. Also in this exhibition are two new Kenan Namunjdja Mimih Spirits, a welcome addition from this rising art star. Namundja rose to prominence pre-pandemic, when his work was selected by curator Mitch Cairns for inclusion in PRIMAVERA at the Museum of Contemporary Art.
Maningrida Arts & Culture is an art community establishment with over 50 years of service to artists who live and work in East Arnhem Land and is a site of contemporary cultural expression and art-making. The art centre supports hundreds of artists on their homelands in addition to arts workers and staff. This is Michael Reid’s ninth major exhibition of works from Maningrida Arts & Culture.