Published: November 2016
There are particular moments in the history of art when exceptional things happen. Such a moment occurred in the 1950s in Milingimbi, the small island community in Arnhem Land in far northern Australia.
Gathered in groups in the deep shade of the tamarind trees, artists worked alongside one another, their individual approaches and shared visual language resulting in a distinctive style of painting of a quality and scale never before seen. These artists - including Binyinyuwuy, Buranday, Dayngangan, Dawidi, Dj wa, Djimbarrdjimbarrwuy, Lipundja and Makani - created exquisite bark paintings with jewel‐like surfaces that capture the complexities of land, sea, sky and cultural inheritance in the one seemingly abstracted image.
Art from Milingimbi, developed in close collaboration with the Milingimbi community, celebrates these artists and their art. It presents ‒ for the first time ‒ sixty-two exquisite bark paintings by fifteen artists, as well as ceremonial and utilitarian objects from a unique collection held at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. While there has been great interest in art from western and northeastern Arnhem Land and Ramingining, there has been little written or published on the exemplary art of Milingimbi. With new research conducted with the Milingimbi community, this book is the first publication about Milingimbi and the exemplary artists working there in the 1950s.