'Seeing Mardayin': Instability and Ambiguity in the Art of John Mawurndjul, Kuninjku, Arnhem Land, Northern Australia
MetadataShow full item record
According to the 'Yolngu' and 'Kuninjku' peoples of Arnhem Land, northern Australia, their art connects knowledge to the land. Land comes into being as a part of an ancestral dreaming enacted through performative storytelling. In this region a particular technique for revealing elements of nature is used called 'rarrk'. The technique employs a cross-hatched layering of coloured lines. The surface of these images presents a powerful but ambiguous visual and emotional effect on the viewer. It creates a dialogue not ordinarily possible with more traditional flattened or chiaroscuro techniques. Similar yet distinct from the more familiar moire effects of the early twentieth century European Impressionists, the technique is a peculiarly potent method for communicating a local cultural heritage knowledge to those initiated in its conventions.