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Contemporary art

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art

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Bolung Kaberrekuwan kare Sydney



Wamud Namok AO


circa 1926 - 2009

Language group

Kundedjnjenghmi, Arnhem region


'Kabulwarnamyo Kunred Ngarduk - My Country Kabulwarnamyo', held at Annandale Galleries in Sydney in June-July 2003 was Lofty Bardayal Nadjamerrek's first solo exhibition. This painting on paper 'Bolung Kaberrekuwan kare Sydney' 2003, is from this exhibition. It displays the artist's distinctive use of ochre and characteristic line work.

The catalogue which accompanies the exhibition gives the following quote by the artist:
"I was born in Yirridja country, my mother's country. When my father first took me to Ankung Kunred, our wild honey country, he said, 'This is our dreaming.' I couldn't talk then, I was just like a little baby that goes 'gurgle, gurgle'. Then I grew and got big and could talk a bit and then he said to me, 'This is our dreaming/sacred site, you look after it when I die,' he said. 'You look after the dreaming at Kururrkkurduk and at Bibidday, Djabidj Bakaluy, and look after Barmurrngkarleya and look after Karlkbo and look after Marlindji' he said, calling all the names of the places (of Kabulwarnamyo), 'You look after Kulnguki'".

Documentation relating to the creation of Lofty Bardayal Nadjamerrek's work states that: 'Bardayal's paintings stem from thoughts of country that have their epicentre at Kabulwarnamyo. He will often sing a relevant traditional song before starting to paint. Some of his most recent art has produced potent first time images, painted with a developed confidence and offering us an experience that draws our attention, as thought he paintings are enchanted. Of stark simple images that can roar with a silent depth and weightlessness. Of the human and figurative works that communicate with delightful animation. Of painting that can balance the horror and beauty with the ordinary or sublime. These paintings embody the man and his country. They extol the virtues and richness of an active life and the joys, essence and spirituality of native honey.'

Born in 1926, Lofty Bardayal Nadjamerrek passed his childhood and youth in the centre of the Arnhem Land Plateau. He continued to live in the bush, making occasional visits to centres such as Katherine and Maranboy, and did not come to Oenpelli until the 1950s when he came to seek his promised wife who was attending school there at the time.

At Oenpelli, he worked on different community projects such as sawmilling and road-making, but since about 1970 has devoted much of his time to painting. In 1972, he left Oenpelli to settle with his family and clan group on an outstation at Table Hill near the Liverpool River.

He is an important song-man and ceremonial leader and performs in many ceremonies involving members of his own clan groups of the Gunwinngu (sic). During 1977 he established his own outstation in the traditional country of his clan, south of Table Hill.

Bardayal was awarded first prize for best work on paper at the Telstra Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art award in 1999. He was also commissioned to do a painting which appeared on the Australian 40c stamp in 1982. His work is held in numerous public and private collections in Australia and overseas.

© Aboriginal & TSI Art Department, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2003


Other Title

Karrakbarl II

Place where the work was made

Western Arnhem Land Northern Territory Australia



Media categories

Painting , Drawing

Materials used

natural pigments on mounted paper


105.0 x 75.0 cm sheet

Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.


Don Mitchell Bequest Fund 2003


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Wamud Namok AO

Works in the collection



Where the work was made
Western Arnhem Land

Shown in 3 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 5 publications


Annandale Galleries, Lofty Bardayal Nadjamerrek, Annandale, 2003. Introductory text by Andrew Blake, Director of Marawuddi Gallery, Kakaku, NT.

Anne Loxley., The Sydney Morning Herald, 'Rapt in the spirit of ancient tradition', Sydney, 11 Jul 2003. Review of Lofty Bardayal Nadjamerrek's first solo exhibition 'Kabulwarnamyo Kunred Ngarduk - My Country Kabulwarnamyo'.

Keith Munro, Bardayal 'Lofty' Nadjamerrek AO, 'Follow my footsteps - the art and life of Bardayal Nadjamerrek', pg. 21-29, Sydney, 2010, 146 (colour illus.), 173.

Hetti Perkins, Crossing country: the alchemy of western Arnhem Land art, Sydney, 2004, 146 (colour illus.), 227.

Ken Watson, One sun one moon: Aboriginal art in Australia, 'Poetic justice: An overview of Indigenous art', pg. 17-27, Sydney, 2007, 20 (colour illus.).