Two artists, two completely different approaches, but one abiding passion - to celebrate the natural bounty to be found in the floodplains, swamps, savannas and woodlands of northern Australia. Mulkun Wirrpanda and John Wolseley, her adoptedwawa(brother), have created a powerful body of works depicting many of the edible plants of north-east Arnhem Land.
I made this painting after eating bundju?u [bush orange] ... I was thinking about how we used to eat when I was a child ... I was thinking about nowadays ... and about the rubbish that our children eat.
And so Mulkun Wirrpanda, a senior elder of the Dhudi-Djapu clan, resolved to paint the traditional food plants of her Yol?u community to safeguard this knowledge for future generations. The suite of bark paintings she created is the subject of this lavishly illustrated catalogue for the National Museum of Australia's new exhibition,Midawarr/Harvest: The Art of MulkunWirrpanda and John Wolseley. Providing a natural counterpoint to these works is a vast and beautifully detailed scroll by renowned landscape painter John Wolseley. The supporting text draws on the wealth of Yol?u botanical knowledge, describing the food and medicinal plants featured in the paintings and how they are collected, prepared and used.
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