John Wolseley and Mulkun Wirrpanda first met in 2009. Mulkun is a great Yolngu artist and ceremonial leader of the Dhudi-djapu clan of East Arnhem Land. John was in Baniyala as one of the group of artists invited by Djambawa Marrawilli and the Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Centre to take part in a print-making workshop. Mulkun had already started to paint the epic series of bark paintings and larrakitj about the plants of her homeland, a small section of which is included in this exhibition. This is a powerful group of paintings that demonstrate her urgent and passionate desire to pass on to new generations her vast knowledge before it is lost.
What also connects these artists is a strong belief in the originary and primary importance of the natural world – its plants, animals and eco-systems. They have a shared awareness of how our accelerating loss of connection with country will result in damage beyond repair.
John Wolseley (b.1938) is one of Australia’s most well respected contemporary artists. In 2005 he was made an Honorary Doctor of Science by Macquarie University and was also awarded the Visual Art Emeritus Award by the Australia Council. Wolseley recently exhibited a solo show at the National Gallery of Victoria titled, ‘Heartlands and Headwaters’ and his work has been selected for numerous important group exhibitions such as Dobell Australian Drawing Biennial, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney (2014), International Print Exhibition, Australia and Japan, Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art, Kyoto, Japan; Fukuyama Museum of Art, Hiroshima, Japan (2014), The Skullbone Experiment, UNSW Galleries, Sydney (2014), the 18th Biennale of Sydney: all our relations, curated by Catherine de Zegher and Gerald McMaster, Sydney, (2012) and Reframing Darwin: Evolution and Art in Australia at the Ian Potter Museum of Art in Melbourne (2009). A major monograph, John Wolseley: Land Marks by Sasha Grishin was published in 1998 by Craftsman House, a second, expanded edition was published in 2006 and a third edition in 2015. John Wolseley’s work is represented in all the major State galleries and in numerous private collections in Australia and internationally. Marrma dilakmala larruma gurra ŋathawu - Two Old Artists Looking for Food is John Wolseley’s sixth exhibition with Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery.
Press release courtesy Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery.