World of Dreamings
Traditional and modern art of Australia

An exhibition held at the State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg | 2 February - 9 April 2000

English | Selected works | Pусский | 0тобранные работы



Partners and sponsors


  • Dr Brian Kennedy, Director, National Gallery of Australia
Chapter 1
  • An introduction to Aboriginal art by Susan Jenkins and Carly Lane
Chapter 2A | B
  • The Aboriginal Memorial We have survived, by Djon Mundine
  • The Aboriginal Memorial 1987-88 A description
Chapter 3
  • John Mawurndjul The resonating land by Luke Taylor
Chapter 4
  • All the world The paintings of Nym Bandak by Kim Barber
Chapter 5
  • 'Who's that bugger who paints like me?' Rover Thomas by Wally Caruana
Chapter 6
  • The enigma of Emily Kngwarray by Jenny Green
Chapter 7
  • High art and religious intensity. A brief history of Wik sculpture by Peter Sutton
Chapter 8
  • Laced flour and tin boxes The art of Fiona Foley by Avril Quaill
Chapter 9
  • The memory theatre of Tracey Moffat by Gael Newton

Artists' biographies



Further reading on Aboriginal art

Authors' biographies




Ramingining Artists

Central Arnhem Land, Northern Territory

The Aboriginal Memorial was conceived and constructed by 43 artists from the town of Ramingining in Central Arnhem Land. The main artists include Paddy Dhathangu, David Daymirringu, George Malibirr, Jimmy Wululu, Neville of the Liyagalawumirr, Jimmy Moduk and Paddy Fordham Wainburranga. The Memorial was first displayed at the Biennale of Sydney, From the Southern Cross: A view of world art, 1940-1988, in 1988. Later that year it was placed in its permanent home, the National Gallery of Australia.

Recently, it has been on display at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, and at the Sprengel Museum, Hannover.

John Mawurndjul
born 1952
Kuninjku people, West Arnhem Land, Northern Territory.

Mawurndjul won the Fifth National Aboriginal Art Award in 1988. He has been represented in a number of major exhibitions including: Dreamings: The Art of Aboriginal Australia which toured America in 1988-89; The Continuing Tradition at the National Gallery of Australia and Magiciens de la terre at the Centre George Pompidou, Paris, in 1989; L'été australien à Montpellier in France, and Contemporary Aboriginal Art 1990 from Australia at the Third Eye Centre, Glasgow, in 1990; The Eye of the Storm: Eight contemporary indigenous Australian artists at the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, in 1996; and In Place (Out of Time): Contemporary Art in Australia, Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, in 1997.

Nym Bandak

Murrinhpatha people
Wadeye (Port Keats), Northern Territory

Bandak was a prolific bark painter, however to convey to the anthropologist W.E.H. Stanner a comprehensive survey of Murrinhpatha cosmology and country, Bandak chose to paint on much larger boards than was usual. The paintings in this exhibition are unique in the modern history of Aboriginal art. Bandak is recorded as being represented in the exhibition Art of the Dreamtime: The Dorothy Bennett Collection of Aboriginal art which toured Japan in 1966. More recently his work has been included in survey exhibitions such as The Continuing Tradition in 1989 and Aratjara in 1993-94.

Rover Thomas

Kukatja, Wangkajunka people
Warmun (Turkey Creek), Western Australia.

Thomas has been represented in several group and solo exhibitions including: On the Edge: Five Contemporary Aboriginal Artists at the Art Gallery of Western Australia and The Continuing Tradition in 1989; L'été australien à Montpellier and Contemporary Aboriginal Art 1990 from Australia, in 1990; Crossroads-Towards a New Reality, Aboriginal Art from Australia, National Museums of Modern Art, Kyoto and Tokyo, in 1992; Aratjara in 1993-94; and Stories, Eine Reise zu den grossen Dingen, Elf Kunstler der australischen Aborigines which toured Germany in 1995. In 1990, Thomas was one of the first two Aboriginal artists to represent Australia at the Venice Biennale. In 1994 the National Gallery devoted an exhibition to his work; Roads Cross: The Paintings of Rover Thomas.

Emily Kam Kngwarray

Anmatyerr people
Utopia, Northern Territory

Kngwarray's work featured in: Contemporary Aboriginal Art: The Robert Holmes à Court Collection which toured the United States in 1990; Aboriginal Women's Art at the Art Gallery of New South Wales; Aratjara in 1993-94; and Stories in 1995. In 1992 Kngwarray was awarded a prestigious Australian Artists Creative Fellowship. Her recent paintings were selected to represent Australia in the 1997 Venice Biennale, and a retrospective of her work toured Australia in 1997-98.

Wik artists

Arthur Pambegan Sr
Wik-Mungkan, 1895-1972


Arthur Pambegan Jr

Wik-Mungkan, born 1936
Aurukun, Cape York Peninsula, Queensland

The sets of sculptures presented here are selected from a series of over 100 works made for a public ceremony held at Aurukun in 1962. Wik art has rarely been exhibited publicly: sculptures from this collection have been exhibited in Dreamings in 1988-89, in Aratjara in 1993-94, and in Painting the Land Story, which was toured around Australia by the National Museum of Australia in 1999.

Fiona Foley

born 1964
Badtjala people
Hervey Bay and Thoorgine (Fraser Island), Queensland

Foley was a founding member of the Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Cooperative in Sydney in 1987. She has an impressive exhibition history including: Koori Art '84 at Artspace, Sydney in 1984; Black Australia at the Bari-High-Expo Arte, Italy, in 1986; Art and Aboriginality, Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth, in 1987; The Continuing Tradition, and Australian Perspecta at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in 1989; Paraculture at Artists Space, New York in 1990; Crossroads-Towards a New Reality in 1992; Aratjara in 1993-94; The Eye of the Storm in 1996; and In Place (Out of Time) in 1997.

Tracey Moffatt

born 1960
Sydney and New York

Photographer and film-maker Tracey Moffatt is currently one of the most sought after artists in Australia, Europe and in America. For the past two years she has had a series of highly successful solo exhibitions at galleries and museums across the northern hemisphere. She has been represented in group exhibitions such as The Ninth Biennale of Sydney, The Boundary Rider, in 1993, and Antipodean Currents at the Guggenheim Museum (Soho), New York in 1995. The films Night Cries - A Rural Tragedy and Bedevil were official selections for the Cannes Film Festivals of 1990 and 1993 respectively.