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One of the last fully initiated Wardaman elders, Yidumduma Bill Harney is regarded by many as a national living treasure, the quintessential Renaissance man using his paintings, carvings, songs and storytelling to communicate his Indigenous knowledge to the world.
He is a widely exhibited artist, with some of his major paintings held at the Museum and Art Gallery of the NT in Darwin and the University of Sydney’s Law School. He has performed the traditional music and stories of his people at venues around the world including the Sydney Opera House, Darwin Festival and at school, universities and festivals in the USA.
Born in 1936 and brought up in both worlds of his Wardaman mother and white father, Bill has been the subject of three film documentaries and his encyclopedic knowledge and colourful life are recorded in three books, including Jan Wositzky’s Born Under The Paperbark Tree (1996).
This retrospective of his lifetime’s work showcases his intimate knowledge of the stories and history of his people, and his striking efforts to share them with the world before these oral traditions pass out of memory.
The exhibition is curated by Margie West AM.