Wally Wilfred – Buŋgul en Ŋaraka (Culture and Bone)

I follow the old people using the traditional rarrk (cross-hatch) painting style. But I use my own bright colours, new way. I’m using the old with the new.

Bones are symbols of past life; they are what remain when everything else is gone. Bones are memories. Wally Wilfred has chosen to paint these bones in bright, bold colours. They don’t appear to be old and decaying, these bones seem full of life, our memories can be the same.

Remembering friends or family we have lost can be sad, but sometimes it’s good to remember the fun times we shared. Recall a memory that might have faded in your mind that you can draw, or tell, in a brighter way.

(Wally Wilfred, personal communication with the author, June 2021. Translation from Roper Kriol by Greg Dickson, of Yugul Mangi Aboriginal Corporation. Tarnanthi Catalogue 2023)

Namarrkon (lightning), 2023, Jabiru, Mirarr Country, Northern Territory, synthetic polymer paint, earth pigments on Stringybark (Eucalyptus tetrodonta), 114.0 x 43.0 cm; Acquisition through Tarnanthi: Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art supported by BHP 2024, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, © Ray Mudjandi / Marrawudda Arts & Culture.

Ray Mudjandi - Black Speed

Ray Mudjandi paints superheroes on bark. This is not the type of imagery we are used to seeing on this material, but it is what the elders in Ray Mudjandi’s community were working on when he was learning to paint. Mudjandi has taken these learnings and applied them to his own stories, connected to the past but also moving forward.

Black Speed is a superhero that Mudjandi created during a trip to meet his father’s side of the family for the first time. During the trip he began drawing and developing ideas for a new superhero and shared his ideas and stories with his Nanna.

If you could have a superpower, what would it be? How would you use your power for good? Create a symbol or icon to identify your superpower, like Mudjandi did with his lightning bolt.

Fun Fact
Do you want to be an artist, but think that maybe you are too young? Well, Mudjandi had his first exhibition at the age of 16 years, the works would later be acquired by Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory. More recently, his work was highly commended in the Wandjuk Marika Memorial 3D award at the 2022 Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards.

Find out more about Ray Mudjandi

Tiger Yaltangki, Yankunyjatjara people, South Australia, born Pukatja (Ernabella), Aṉangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands, South Australia 1973, Back in Black, from the series Wanangara – Lightning, 2022, Indulkana, Aṉangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands, South Australia, synthetic polymer paint on found poster and paper, 76.0 x 112.0 cm; Courtesy the Artist and Iwantja Arts, © Tiger Yaltangki/Iwantja Arts.

Tiger Yaltangki

Tiger Yaltangki loves rock music, particularly AC/DC. Here he has altered a collection of rock ‘n roll posters to reflect his best mates and the colours and patterns of his world. The presentation of these works reminds us of the way young people surround themselves with images of their own role models and imagine their worlds merging.

Rock on! Summon your inner rock star and join Tiger and his friends for a jam on air guitar.

Do you have any celebrity role models? What is it about them that you so enjoy or aspire to? If you could invite any three people in the world to dinner, who would they be and why?

Can you put a new spin on a classic track? Take a song from your parents, or grandparents’ era and turn it into a rap.