John Mawurndjul is active/lives in Australia. John Mawurndjul is known for aboriginal painting.
Since commencing bark painting in the late 1970s John Mawurndjul’s painting career spans almost 40 years. His work led the way in changing perceptions about how Aboriginal visual traditions translate into contemporary art. The artist’s constant aesthetic innovations stimulated audiences to see beyond the primitive stereotype and appreciate a creative genius who develops new methods for communicating with a global audience.
With contemporary bark painting, the medium is not the message. Mawurndjul draws on a longstanding Aboriginal tradition of painting ochre images on bark taken from trees grown in northern Australian wetlands. But he now uses this medium to communicate with modern audiences, and the message in Ancestors at Milmilingkan (1993) is the continued relevance and presence of ancestral spirits. This is a painting about now, not yesterday.
Mawurndjul established an outstation and built a house at Milmilingkan in 1992-1993 and at this time he increased the focus on artworks referencing this location. For outsiders, the significance of these paintings is that the ancestors are still here at Milmilingkan. This is how the artist translates the Dreaming into an authentically contemporary expression of art. His art inculcates outsiders into an Aboriginal perspective of a spiritual ordering of the world that remains relevant for his Kuninjku community today.