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John Mawurndjul

1952

Moiety : Duwa
Subsection: Balang
Country: Milmilngkan

John Mawurndjul is a Kuninjku bark painter and sculptor. Born at Mumeka he grew up at the outstation and the seasonal camps at Tomkinson, Liverpool and Mann Rivers.

He began to paint in the late 1970s and was guided by his elder brother Jimmy Njiminjuma and uncle Peter Marralwanga. Though it would not be until the late 1980's that he started to produce the large and elaborate paintings with complex arrangements of figures that he is now known for.

In 1988 Mawurndjul won the Rothmans Foundation Award for best painting in traditional media at the 5th National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award. Later that year he won first prize at the Barunga Festival Art exhibition. And he went on to win the bark painting prize at the 16th and 19th Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award in 1999 and 2002. He was the first Indigenous artist to be awarded the prestigious Clemenger Contemporary Art Prize winning it in 2003 and in 2009 he won the Melbourne Art Foundation Artist Award which recognises the outstanding achievement of an Australian Artist for a comprehensive body of work.

Mawurndjul has had several solo exhibitions both nationally and internationally and he has been a part of numerous group exhibitions again both nationally and internationally. And in September 2005, Mawurndjul opened the first retrospective of his work at the Musee Jean Tinguely in Basel Switzerland. In 2005 and 2006, Mawurndjul worked on a major commission for the new Musée du quai Branly, Paris, France. He is married to Kay Lindjuwanga and is the father of Anna Wurrkidj, Josephine Wurrkidj and Semeria Wurrkidj.