Skip to main content

Maningrida artist visits University of Virginia

14 March 2019

Maningrida artist Balang John Mawurndjul has recently been described by art critics as one of the most important contemporary artists in Australia today. Balang has had a distinguished career that has taken him all over the globe to exhibition openings and conferences. 
He recently travelled to Charlottesville in the United States to attend a symposium for the 30th anniversary of the 1988 New York exhibition, Dreamings: The Art of Aboriginal Australia. The symposium was hosted by the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection at the University of Virginia. 
The staff at Kluge-Ruhe are a fantastic crew who have promoted the Australian Aboriginal Art in the United States for many decades. Balang was accompanied on his trip by his interpreter Murray Garde from the Bininj Kunwok Regional Language Centre. Murray and Balang gave a joint photographic presentation about Balang’s early life as a developing artist at Mumeka outstation in the early 1980s. 
These photos of Balang were taken by the anthropologist Jon Altman when he did his doctoral fieldwork at Mumeka in 1979 and 1980. Balang was shown great hospitality by the Kluge-Ruhe staff, especially the Director Margo Smith and Curator Henry Skerritt. The trip could not have taken place without the assistance of Maningrida Arts and Culture who organised all the necessary details to make the trip a success.