Makani excelled in a form of abstract purity, as seen in 'Small clouds' c1950. On an entirely visual level it is an intriguing work, such is the balance between form, colour and delicate miny’tji (clan designs). The triangular forms within this image refer to small clouds. With their ends demarcated in solid colour, the clouds in the upper section are reflected in the lower through a form of random symmetry. All pairs, bar one, meet at the central yellow line and the colours are the inverse of the triangle they reflect. The miny’tji in the upper section all flows in the one diagonal direction. In the lower section, however, a more complex arrangement is at play, forming a chevron-like pattern, the optical shifts of which imbue the work with energy. Mildjingi call these wet season clouds djarrupung and they relate to the travels of an ancestor sacred to that clan and estates in the Glyde River area on the mainland opposite.
Bark painting (Triangular motif)
natural pigments on bark
74.3 x 47.0 cm
Not on display
© Makani Estate. Licensed by Copyright Agency.
Where the work was made
Shown in 2 exhibitions
Australian Aboriginal art: bark paintings, carved figures, sacred and secular objects: an exhibition arranged by the State art galleries of Australia, 1960-1961:
- Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney 17 Aug 1960–18 Sep 1960
- Queensland Art Gallery, South Brisbane Oct 1960–Oct 1960
- National Gallery of Victoria [Swanston Street], Melbourne Nov 1960–Dec 1960
- Western Australian Art Gallery, Perth Feb 1961–Mar 1961
- National Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide Apr 1961–Apr 1961
- Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart May 1961–Jun 1961
Art from Milingimbi: taking memories back, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 12 Nov 2016–29 Jan 2017
Referenced in 2 publications
Frederick D. McCarthy, Australian Aboriginal art: bark paintings, carved figures, sacred and secular objects: an exhibition arranged by the State art galleries of Australia, 1960-1961, 'Introduction', pg. 7-17, Sydney, 1960, 23. cat.no. 41
Cara Pinchbeck, Art from Milingimbi, ‘Makani’, pg. 102-115, Sydney, 2016, front cover (colour illus., detail), 107 (coluor illus.), 142.