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Naminapu Maymuru-White

(Australia 20 Jul 1952 – )

Language group
Manggalili, Arnhem region
Nyapililngu Wapitja
Place of origin
YirrkalaNorth-east Arnhem LandNorthern TerritoryAustralia
Media category
Materials used
triptych: colour linoprint (reduction method)

176.0 x 45.0 x 4.5 cm frame:

a - side panel; 46 x 20.8 cm; Image

a - side panel; 59 x 40 cm; Sheet

b - centre panel; 46 x 20.8 cm; Image

b - centre panel; 49 x 40 cm; Sheet

c - side panel; 46 x 20.8 cm; Image

c - side panel; 59 x 40 cm; Sheet

Signature & date
Signed l.r. [part 3], pencil "Naminapu Maymuru". Not dated. Part 1 and the centre panel are neither signed nor dated.
Purchased 1996
Accession number
Not on display
Further information

This print is a triptych and was first produced in a black and white format in 1989. The reduction method of printing used for this colour version means that the original 1989 blocks have been destroyed in the colour printing process. The layers of coloured ink on the surface of the paper have been built up to resemble the complex layers of paint on a bark painting; hence giving the print an extremely strong appearance.

Part a - Nyapilingu, the subject of this print, is the most important female ancestor of the Mangalili clan. The Wapitja is the sacred digging stick carried by Nyapilingu and forms the inner shape of this print.

Part b - The cross represents the string that Nyapililngu spun out of possum fur and wore; it also symbolises how important she was. The horizontal lines are her 'raki', they represent a line of string.

Part c - The animals represent an important role within the clan, for food, furs and string. The 'raki' is a symbol of their journey of the person who dies and how the spirit will travel.

Australian Art Department, AGNSW, 1996

Bibliography (1)

Djon Mundine, Art and Australia (Vol. 34, No. 3), `Finding the Body The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award', pg. 319-321, Roseville, Jan 1997-Mar 1997, 319-321, 320 (colour illus.).

Exhibition history (3)

Another Country, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 04 Jul 1999–02 Apr 2000

Title Deeds: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Works from the Collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 05 Jul 2000–05 Nov 2000

ochre: bark paintings from the Collection (2000-01), Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 02 Nov 2000–06 May 2001