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Supporters of
Aboriginal Art

Celebrating 5 years of support and advocacy for Aboriginal art and artists

Supporters of Aboriginal Art was established in 2017 as a group of individuals passionate about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT). 

Celebrating five years in 2022, this circle has had a transformative effect on MAGNT and the Aboriginal art collection. Through your ongoing support, MAGNT is able to share stories, celebrate remarkable artists and educate national and international audiences about the power of Aboriginal art.

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Aboriginal Art Store tour, 2021.

Djerrkŋu Yunupiŋu (Gumatj, born 1945), I am a Mermaid 2020, earth pigments and recycled print toner on Stringybark. Purchased 2020. Telstra Collection, MAGNT.

MAGNT's Aboriginal Art and
Material Culture collection

MAGNT’s Aboriginal Art and Material Culture collection reflects the richness and diversity of Aboriginal cultures across Northern and Central Australia. It contains works that have an association with Aboriginal groups living across the Northern Territory, with focus on works from the Tiwi Islands, Arnhem Land, and the Western Desert regions.

The ongoing development of this collection focuses on acquiring quality pieces by leading artists and makers with an emphasis on those which relate to the people, history, land and culture of the region of northern Australia.

A cornerstones of the collection is its unique holdings of 1971-72 Papunya paintings from Central Australia. MAGNT holds the largest and most important collection of early Papunya paintings in the world, the age and breadth of which are of national and international significance.

The role of Supporters of Aboriginal Art

Together, the Supporters of Aboriginal Art have raised over $300,000, enabling the acquisition of eight significant Aboriginal art works. This support has been instrumental to the growth of MAGNT’s Aboriginal Art and Material Culture collection.

Drawing on the strengths of the Aboriginal Art and Material Culture collection, MAGNT’s new gallery, opening in 2024, will provide overviews of some of the most significant artistic developments from communities such as Papunya, Hermannsburg, Yirrkala, and the Tiwi Islands, while also providing a space to celebrate each artist’s unique voice and practice.

As we shift our focus towards the new Gallery, it is urgent that we address gaps in the collection. The Gallery provides an unprecedented opportunity to present world-class exhibitions and play a leading role in nurturing and presenting contemporary Australian Aboriginal and Torre Strait Islander art.

We will call on the Supporters of Aboriginal Art for their generosity, knowledge and advocacy as we work towards this ambitious and important project. 

Renew your support for 2022/2023

Annual

$2,000+

$4,000+

Quarterly

$500+

$1,000+

Monthly

$167+

$334+

As a Supporter of Aboriginal Art, you are afforded exclusive access to preview the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards before the exhibition opens to the public. 

Supporters of Aboriginal Art

John and Jane Ayers *
Candy Bennett
Chris and Elma Christopher

Peter and Agnès Cooke *

Richard and Harriett England *
Richard and Jan Frolich *

Geoff Hassall OAM and Virginia Milson *

Rob and Annabel Hill-Smith 

Elizabeth Kingdon and Michael Rowe *

Diana Laidlaw

Liz Laverty ˆ

Jane Michell 
Arthur and Suzie Roe *

Alice Richardson 
Michael Sitzler and Terri Layman *
Paul and Thelma Taliangis 

Chris and Biddy Van Aanholt *

Tracey Whiting

List current as at July 2022

* Founding members

ˆ Honourary member

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Ms D. Yunupiŋu, Yunupiŋu – The Rock 2021, earth pigments and recycled print toner on stringybark, 217 x 98cm. Courtesy of the estate of Ms D. Yunupiŋu and Buku-Larrŋgay Mulka. 

Proposed acquisition
Ms D. Yunupiŋu

Yunupiŋu – The Rock 2021

The loss of the incredible matriarch Ms D. Yunupiŋu has been felt deeply by her family, community and many friends near and far. Her short yet momentous practice introduced us to the beautiful woman who painted mermaids. 

We ask for your support in raising $27,000 to acquire her last appearance in the Telstra NATSIAA. 

Ms D. Yunupiŋu (1945–2022) was a senior Yolŋu Elder and artist based in Yirrkala in East Arnhem Land. Born on Inglis Island, she was one of the significant matriarchs of the Yolŋu community.

Ms D. Yunupiŋu painted the story of her conception as a spiritual mermaid, which was revealed to her father in a dream before she was born. Her portrayal of a family of mermaids marked a stylistic development in Yolŋu bark painting, with her paintings depicting scenes from her father’s dream, her family’s homelands and significant personal events that all featured her own mermaid spirit.

The distinctive colouring of her paintings on bark and board was created using discarded remnants of printer toner combined with natural earth pigments. Her innovative approach generated intense interest by Australian institutions, collectors and curators.

In 2020, Ms D. Yunupiŋu’s work was featured in Sydney Contemporary and her first solo exhibition, I am a Mermaid, was presented by Alcaston Gallery (Naarm/Narrm/Melbourne) in 2021. She was also a finalist in the 2021 Archibald Prize at the Art Gallery of NSW with a work entitled Me and my sisters.

 

Acquisitions

The Supporters of Aboriginal Art have contributed to the acquisition of a number of significant works for the MAGNT Aboriginal Art and Material Culture collection. The addition of these works to the collection enable MAGNT to continue to preserve indigenous cultures and celebrate outstanding artists.

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Dhambit Munuŋgurr Bees at Gäṉgän 2021.Purchased with funds donated by the MAGNT Supporters of Aboriginal Art, 2021. MAGNT Collection.

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Hubert Pareroultja and Mervyn Rubuntja, Through the veil of time 2021. Purchased with funds donated by the MAGNT Supporters of Aboriginal Art, 2021. MAGNT Collection.

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Noŋgirrŋa Marawili (Madarrpa, born c.1938, Darrpirra, Northern Territory) Rough gapu, 2020, earth pigments and PVA fixative on Stringybark. Purchased with funds donated by the MAGNT Supporters of Aboriginal Art, 2020. MAGNT Collection.

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Barayuwa Munuŋgurr (Djapu, born 1980, Miwatj, Northern Territory) Bones of Wuymirri, 2018, natural pigments on hollow log (stringybark tree), Purchased with funds donated by the MAGNT Supporters of Aboriginal Art, 2019. MAGNT Collection.

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Pepai Jangala Carroll (Luritja & Pitjantjatjara, born 1950 Haasts Bluff, Northern Territory) Yumar 2018, Synthetic polymer paint on canvas, Purchased with funds donated by the MAGNT Supporters of Aboriginal Art, 2018. MAGNT Collection.

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Peter Mungkuri (Yankunytjatjara born 1946, Fregon Creek, South Australia) Ngura (Country), 2019, ink and synthetic polymer paint on linen, Purchased with funds donated by the MAGNT Supporters of Aboriginal Art, 2019. MAGNT Collection.