Kabimdi : There Are Painting There That Have Always Been There: Featuring Joe Guymala, Gabriel Maralngurra & Shaun Namarnyilk
Short St Gallery presents Kabimdi, which translates in Kunwinjku to, There Are Paintings There That Have Always Been There. The exhibition focuses on the unique artwork of Kunwinjku men Joe Guymala, Gabriel Maralngurra and Shaun Namarnyilk.
Joe Guymala's playful, bold marks and shapes document his contemporary day to day life in the bush. His fore-bearers ancient rock paintings in the shelters of West Arnhem Land are also a great source of inspiration. Joe works exclusively in natural ochre's using 'Manyilk' a thin grass brush to apply line after line, layer after layer to create his powerful and unique compositions. Joe has built up a body of work that is visually striking and contemporary in a way that immediately catches the eye. His barks and works on paper speak of a visual voice that uses shape and space to great effect. The lines in his works have a flow and movement that echo sound as he recollects life in country now and for his ancestors. Joe's artwork has gained wide attention recently and he was joined by Gabriel Maralngurra in the United States for a residency and two exhibition openings in 2020.
Gabriel Maralngurra is a senior Kunwinjuku man who works in the traditional layered x-ray rock art style and has created a strong and loyal following over his many years as an art practitioner. He is a driving force behind Injalak Arts and his knowledge and artistic skill has been recognised extensively by many significant art institutions, awards and commissions, including a residency in 2020 at the Kluge Ruhe Collection in Virginia, USA where he also opened two exhibitions of work alongside Joe Guymala.
Shaun Namarnyilk is an exciting emerging artist who uses the same layering techniques as Gabriel while building his own unique way forward. He uses coloured pigments mixed with ochre, washed backgrounds and the effects of nature to emulate the rocks on Injalak Hill, which is near the art studio and community the artists hail from. Shaun continues to learn from the senior men while pushing boundaries about what Arnhem Land art is. Together Shaun and other male artists from Injalak have produced a powerful collaborative painting for Kabimdi, that draws on Shaun's art practice and the traditions and art of the senior men. Shaun has revealed himself as an exciting new artists to watch, who will feature in some major awards and projects in the coming years.
Joe, Gabriel and Shaun's unique styles offer a perspective on how character and innovative thinking influence tradition and culture. The resulting art work is spectacular and engaging. All three artists draw inspiration from their fore-bearers and come from West Arnhem Land, yet their art practice varies significantly. This is what makes them great and importantly allows the viewer a glimpse of these commanding artists at work, their thought processes and their insights into a strong sacred culture.