The Australia Council wishes to acknowledge the passing of Yolngu artist Mr Wanambi and recognise his impressive contribution to First Nations arts and culture.
Mr Wanambi was an influential artist and leader, best known for his bark paintings and larrakitj (memorial poles).
Mr Wanambi was also a curator, filmmaker and the cultural director of the Mulka Project, run by Buku-Larrngay Mulka Centre at Yirrkala, where he mentored and advocated for young First Nations artists.
After beginning his career as a visual artist in 1997, Mr Wanambi went on to develop a high-profile career, drawing international acclaim.
He received the NATSIAA Best Bark award in 1998. In 2020, he took part in the Australia Council’s Signature Works Innovation Labs.
Mr Wanambi’s works are held in a number of national and international collections including. the British Museum, the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of the University of Virginia (USA), Musee de Lyon (France), Museum Fünf Kontinente (Germany), Museum Kunstwerk (Germany), Fondation Opale (Switzerland), as well as the National Gallery of Australia, the National Museum of Australia, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, and the Holmes a Court Collection.
Australia Council Executive Director First Nations Arts and Culture Franchesca Cubillo said:
“Mr Wanambi was a visionary artist, curator and First Nations leader. An innovator and a mentor for young artists, he helped to raise the profile of Australia First Nations arts and culture internationally. We send our deepest sympathies to his friends, family and community.”