Dhuwarrwarr Marika, Bulthirrirri Wunungmurra & Nawurapu Wunungmurra
30 November to 8 February 2020
“Yolngu invited the Makassan people to their camp and explained to them who they were. Makassans explained who they were and why they came. In their heart they were Yolngu people. The Makassan taught the Yolngu their song and traditions and the Yolngu taught the Makassan their culture and law and tradition." – Dhuwarrwarr Marika, artist statement, Telstra National Indigenous and Islander Art Award, Museum and Art Gallery Northern Territory, 2019.
The ‘open archipelago’ has passed from living memory but memories of extended families, grave sites, rock art and ceremonies survive. Dhuwarrrwarr Marika's father Mawalan 1 Marika painted about the Makassan people in the 1940s and spoke some Makassan language (Malay). The exhibition By the Stars, Wind & Ocean Currents presents powerful bark paintings, larrakitj, prints and works on paper by Dhuwarrwarr Marika, Nawurapu Wunungmurra and Nawurapu's niece Bulthirrirri Wunungmurra (in her debut exhibition), that draw upon this fascinating counter-history.
By the Stars, Wind & Ocean Currents garners the notion of reciprocity inherent in the term ‘exchange’ or trade between the monsoon coast of northern Australia and the Indonesian archipelago. This is the first in a series of exhibitions by contemporary artist networks in the region to be held during 2020 that present a counter-history to the 'discovered by Captain Cook' story.