the art of David Malangi
31 July – 7 November 2004
7 July 2004
This is no ordinary place. This is my country. They [the people] are really from the country. They didn't make it, but came from it. Our ancestors — big people, strong people — stuck to it... and then we grew up. And this is our story. And this is our country David Malangi, March 1983
The first retrospective exhibition of David Malangi Daymirringu (1927–1999) will be opened by Sir William Deane AC KBE on Friday 30 July 2004 at the National Gallery of Australia. The exhibition, comprising 67 works, predominantly bark paintings and 13 remarkable sculptures, celebrates the art and lifeof David Malangi Daymirringu and the important role of this innovative artist in Australia's cultural heritage.
Malangi came to prominence in the 1960s, painting consistently over four decades within a private ceremonial context as well as for the public domain, gaining international prominence. Malangi is most familiar to Australians through the reproduction of one of his bark painting designs on the reverse of the one dollar note, released as part of Australia's new decimal currency in 1966.
The curator of the exhibition Susan Jenkins states:
No ordinary place traces the development of Malangi's work from the early bark paintings of the 1960s that record his patrilineally inherited land and ceremonies, to the masterful dedications to his mother's land and culture for which he was also responsible, and where he spent the last 30 years of his life. Malangi was a true innovator in the bark painting medium and this No ordinary place provides the opportunity to celebrate the extensive contribution of this talented and highly significant artist in the company of his peers, Indigenous and non-Indigenous.
Malangi was cultural manager of his family's vast inherited pictorial language, based on the stories and ceremonies associated with the mangroves, mud flats and fresh waterholes around the magnificent Glyde River in central Arnhem Land, and dedicated his entire adult life to the development of a strong individual graphic style.
He was one of a group of renowned Indigenous artists who represented Australia at the landmark exhibition Dreamings: the art of Aboriginal Australia held at The Asia Society Galleries, New York in 1988 and that same year was a key contributor to the magnificent The Aboriginal Memorial in the National Gallery of Australia.
The principal presenting sponsor for the exhibition in Canberra and its national tour as part of the Gallery’s Travelling Exhibitions program in 2005/2006 is Newmont Mining, the world’s largest gold company and a proud partner of Reconciliation Australia.
Newmont Australia Managing Director, John Dow stated that:
Newmont is very proud to be the principal sponsor of this exhibition – both as a celebration of David Malangi’s life and works, and as a means to increase awareness of Aboriginal culture in Australia. Sponsoring this exhibition is one of the many ‘stepping stones’ we hope to lay as a Company, on the path towards true reconciliation in Australia. We are delighted to show our colours through the bark colours of David Malangi.
To accompany the exhibition, the National Gallery of Australia has published a fully illustrated publication about the life and art of David Malangi, edited by Acting Curator, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art, Susan Jenkins with contributions by Nigel Lendon, Djon Mundine, Margie West and members of the Malangi family.