Congratulations Noŋgirrŋa Marawili for being selected as one of the key artists for this years 3rd National Indigenous Art Triennial, Defying Empire.

defying: to challenge the power of, to resist boldly or openly; empire: a group of nations or peoples ruled over by an emperor or other powerful government.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists look to the past, to their ancestral or cultural teachings and histories to inform their present thoughts. Whether inspirational, informative or heartbreaking, their works open up and encourage conversations that are essential to dispel myths, stereotypes and outdated ideologies.

As we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Referendum, which gave Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people the right to be counted as Australians on the census for the first time, the works in Defying Empire open up conversations through an assemblage of stories, bringing together our inherited chapters of Australia’s history from across the country.

Defying Empire celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art practice, stories and achievements but does not shy away from Australia’s complex histories. It reinforces and showcases our resilience, pride, diversity and strength and our ongoing connections to Country, family, community, culture and history. The works demystify, re-engage, inspire and reinforce our resilience and, more importantly, our identity. From those who fought for our basic right to be counted to our modern-day warriors, and those yet to be seen in the future, keep up the good fight.
Text (c) NGA
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Noŋgirrŋa Marawili
I paint water designs. The water. As it crashes onto the rocks at high tide. Sending the spray into the sky. You know what I mean. That’s what I do. And also those things on the rocks that I paint as dots are called Dungunanin, the barnacles that dress up the rocks. You may think this is a sacred painting. But the paintings I do are not sacred. I can’t steal my father’s painting. I just do my own design from the outside. Water. Rock. Rocks that stand strong. And the waves that run and crash upon the rocks. The sea spray. This is the painting I do. You may spy on me and think that I am painting sacred things. This would be a lie.

#DefyingEmpire, #1967Referendum, #deadlyart
Photo: Pep Phelan