One Way, The Painted Lines of Stone Country Art: Jimmy Galareya Namarnyilk, Don Nakadilinj and Robert Namarnyilk — 22 November 2006 to 27 January 2007
Jimmy Galareya Namarnyilk, Don Nakadilinj & Robert Namarnyilk.
Curator: Andrew Blake
22 November 2006 to 27 January 2007
The painted lines of these three artists of West Central Arnhem Land run in parallel, not cross hatched. The people of the headwaters of the Liverpool and the Mann Rivers have this as their style or way. Their art continues the tradition of rock art and tells the stories of the spirits, ancestors and creatures who shaped the stone country.
Their paintings typically have an austere background overlaid with a white cartoon given body and identity by natural ochres. Jimmy’s line is bold and unswervingly confident; Don’s line is gentle and feathery; Robert’s lines are intense and close.
Jimmy Galareya Namarnyilk helped raise Robert Namarnyilk. Robert’s father (Jimmy’s older brother), the collected artist and ceremonial man Spider Nabanu Namirikki, died when Robert was young. Jimmy and Don are ceremonial colleagues.
Robert Namarnyilk Djuwanjdjuwanj:a short thickset ancestor of the malgawo region, Robert’s mother’s country,2006 (16904) 76 x 38 cm
Robert Namarnyilk Ancestor: Split Man, a Nakurrurndilhba or clever figure, 2006 (16903) 76 x 38 cm
Don Nakadilinj Namundja Nyalyod at Mankorlod 2003 (15204) 105 x 38 cm
Jimmy Galareya Namarnyilk Ubarr Ceremony Boss: Balandjan Ngalan, ritual specialist, 2005 (15892) 150 x 53 cm
Jimmy Galareya Namarnyilk Dancer; Galagala the number one Ubarr performer,2006 (16316) 150 x 53 cm
Jimmy Galareya Namarnyilk Bininj or Mimeh, 2006 (16900) Bark, 115 x 41 cm
Jimmy Galareya Namarnyilk Djorrgurn:male and female ringtail possums 2006 (16127) 76 x 53 cm
Jimmy Galareya Namarnyilk Yam Increase Ceremony (women); Ubarr ritual men wear cockatoo feathers, 2002 (11664) 150 x 105 cm
Don Nakadilinj Namundja Stone Tips, Dilly Bags, Leaf Fan, Stone and Tucker, 2003 (14786) 75 x 53 cm
Jimmy Galareya Namarnyilk Ancestral Figure and sacred Mandem water lily 2006 (16128) 76 x 53 cm
The One Way team
JIMMY GALAREYA NAMARNYILK lives at Gamagowan outstation near the headwaters of the Mann River. His invested culture is of the highest order: his father was the last great Ubarr Man. His knowledge gives him the authority to paint, in a secular sense, the secret ritual of Ubarr dancers and senior conductors. These works, which are often portraits of celebrity individuals, hang alongside others depicting ancestral heroes and power beings — lightning men and clever men of dual identity and totemic animals. Jimmy’s paintings, like the man, are full of jump, kick and verve. As an artist his work is of the same high calibre as those of his neighbour Lofty Bardayal Nadjamerrek.
DON NAKADILINJ NAMUNDJA paints the emblems, ancestors, animals and plants found at his birthplace at Mankorlod. His name, Nakadilinj, is made of the male prefix, Na, and the name, kadilinj, for a sacred place of water at Mankorlod. Don and the art world found each other during the wet season of 2002. A call came from Lofty Bardayal’s camp at Kabulwarnamyo suggesting that this ‘little bloke’ wanted painting materials. Later that year the National Gallery of Australia bought several works from his first show in Darwin. In late 2005 The Cross Art Projects premiered Nakadilinj’s paintings alongside works by his brother, the late Bob Wanurr Namundja. His art, like the man, leaves lasting impressions of a rare integrity. Don, an orphan, left his country when very young and grew up in the regional centres of Maningrida and Gunbalunya and, for a time, in Darwin leprosarium for treatment. He now travels as a single man throughout central Arnhem Land on senior ceremonial business and paints at Gamagowan outstation and Oenpelli.
ROBERT NAMARNYILK paints curved ancestral bodies with a wonderful flow but the figures are somewhat confronting. His work seems to reflect the vast energies needed to sustain the evenness of his line making. Robert was born at Mudjinberri Station in Kakadu National Park where his father drove cattle. When Robert’s father passed away, Jimmy Galareya Namarnyilk ensured Robert and his brothers attended periods of graded and formal ceremony. Robert seeks mainstream acceptance as an artist and a sustained life, but has been remanded in prison. This is his first solo exhibition. His true character is reflected in these works.