rarrk [Anchiale briareus] - thinking of John Mawrundjul...

“Rhythm. Life is full of it; words should have it, too. But you have to train your ear. Listen to the waves on a quiet night; you’ll pick up the cadence. Look at the patterns the wind makes in dry sand and you’ll see how syllables in a sentence should fall...” 

[Arthur Gordon, A Touch of Wonder]

In my previous post I wrote of a recent afternoon I spent fascinated by the physical and photogenic nature of this Anchiale briareus.  This gentle creature was so obliging of my attentions that I took a little time to capture it in more detail.  I marveled at the beautiful patterning that made it so visually striking, and at the same time, in the right setting, so brilliantly camouflaged a subject. Looking at the layering of wings, and segments decorated with dark lines, interspersed with areas of white I found myself thinking of the work of Kuninjku artist John Mawrundjul...

John Mawurndjul,
Mardayin Ceremony, 2005


'Kuninjku artist John Mawurndjul made a radical break with the confines of the iconic system of representation and began to forge his first metaphysical conceptualisations of specific sites in his country in term of rarrk designs related to the Mardayin ceremony.  This represents a daring departure from earlier forms of Kunwinjku art, which consisted only of solid white images and contained no rarrk.  It also reveals Mawurndjul's concern with something visionary - an essence conveyed by reducing painting to its simplest elements: in this case the finest of cross-hatched lines over layers of ochre within a grid, in which images are concealed as shadows.'

 [Judith Ryan, Land Marks]  

If you look with attention you can hear the delicate rhythms in Mawurndjul's paintings and find their echo amidst the animate and inanimate forms that decorate the world beyond.  

Such is the beauty of suggestion, essence, the art of concealing to reveal a truth ... 

 John Mawrundjul [image]

“I do believe in an everyday sort of magic - the inexplicable connectedness we sometimes experience with places, people, works of art and the like; the eerie appropriateness of moments of synchronicity; the whispered voice, the hidden presence, when we think we're alone.” 

[Charles de Lint]