Be immersed in a vast Arnhem Land floodplain and lose yourself in a forest of bark paintings as Melbourne Museum presents Midawarr | Harvest: The art of Mulkun Wirrpanda and John Wolseley in the Bunjilaka Aboriginal Culture Centre.
An ambitious and beautiful cross-cultural collaboration, the exhibition is the culmination of an extraordinary friendship between two of Australia’s most distinguished senior artists; renowned landscape artist John Wolseley and the great Yolnu artist, Mulkun Wirrpanda. The exhibition celebrates the artist’s shared passion for traditional Yolnu (north-eastern Arnhem Land) plant use.
Midawarr | Harvest features a specially-commissioned vast panoramic scroll painting of a floodplain (10m x 2.1m) by Wolseley, complementing 60 paintings and memorial poles by Mulkun Wirrpanda, showcasing intricately detailed Yolnu plants. The works are enhanced by soundscape and immersive multimedia experiences throughout the space.
In 2009, Mulkun adopted Wolseley as her wawa (brother) and in the following years they harvested, painted and illustrated over 40 species of edible plants. The resulting exhibition is best described as a kind of three-dimensional rendering of north-east Arnhem Land flora.
Midawarr means ‘harvest’ in the Yolnu matha (language); it is the season when rich plant life on Yolnu country is ready to be collected and prepared. The exhibition inspires viewers to think about the way we use, connect, value and understand our environment.
Mulkun Wirrpanda is passionate about passing on the important knowledge of these plants to a younger generation, to counteract their dependence on junk food. Wolseley’s immersive landscape portrays a distant floodplain and features the same plants and trees which Mulkun has painted.
Midawarr | Harvest: The Art of Mulkun Wirrpanda and John Wolseley
Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre – Melbourne Museum, 11 Nicholson Street, Carlton
Free with museum entry
For more information, visit: www.museumsvictoria.com.au for details.
Image: Midawarr | Harvest: The Art of Mulkun Wirrpanda and John Wolseley (installation view) – courtesy of Museums Victoria