MCA Announces John Mawurndjul National Tour

The works of master bark painter John Mawurndjul will tour the country in a major exhibition developed by the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA). Co-created with the Art Gallery of South Australia in association with Maningrida Arts & Culture, the two-year national tour will kick off in March 2019 and travel across five states and territories. MCA Director, Elizabeth Ann Macgregor OBE, reflects on the importance of travelling exhibition such as this: ‘We see our touring activities as really integral to our core mission. From Wollongong to Wagga Wagga, Perth to Port Macquarie, Darwin to Dubbo, they play a key role in connecting a broad and diverse public with the work of living artists, helping us shape an Australia that values contemporary art and artists.’

Celebrated for his mastery of rarrk (cross-hatching) and his depiction of djang (sacred sites), Mawurndjul has become one of Australia’s most widely recognised artists. ‘John Mawurndjul: I am the old and the new’ presents bark paintings and sculptures made over a 35-year period, bringing forth traditions shared by generations of Kuninjku artists. The works – which were chosen by the artist – represent Mawurndjul’s enduring and experimental vision of significant ancestral locations in Central Arnhem Land. Many of Mawurndjul’s paintings represent the rainbow serpent Ngalyod, and the yawkyawk (mermaid-like creatures that were devoured by Ngalyod), drawing together the figurative, the abstract and the symbolic with new forms of patterning, composition and geometry. In 2019/20, a smaller version of this landmark exhibition will travel across Australia with the support of the Australian Government’s Visions of Australia program.

Over the last ten years, the MCA has taken 22 exhibitions on the road, bringing the works of over 300 Australian and international artists to over 50 galleries nationally and internationally. Together, these exhibitions represented 5,300 days of touring and attracted over 1.5 million visitors. Australian energy company Red Energy has also been announced as the MCA’s inaugural Touring Partner, supporting MCA exhibitions ‘Hilarie Mais’ and ‘Primavera @ 25: MCA Collection’ in 2018.

John Mawurndjul: I am the old and the new

6 July – 23 September 2018
Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney

26 October 2018 – 28 January 2019
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide

14 March – 9 June 2019
Murray Art Museum Albury, NSW

26 July – 22 September 2019
Glasshouse Port Macquarie, NSW 

4 October – 24 November 2019
Drill Hall Gallery, ANU, ACT

 7 December 2019 – 19 January 2020
Blue Mountains Cultural Centre, NSW

7 February – 29 March 2020
Cairns Regional Gallery, QLD

17 April – 28 June 2020
Charles Darwin University Art Collection & Art Gallery, NT

10 July – 20 September 2020
Tweed Regional Gallery, NSW

2 October – 29 November 2020
Bunjil Place Gallery, VIC

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