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Maningrida is in Arnhem Land, a northern region of Australia known for the quality of local paintings. Maningrida itself is known for its painters, whose works are shown at the Quai Branly museum in Paris. So to visit the Maningrida art gallery is like visit the essence of aboriginal painting.
I was lucky enough to get a guided tour by Kevin, the gallery manager. He made me discover the treasures in each of the rooms, here are some of the most impressive ones :
-Bark painting : it’s a support that’s commonly used in the north of Australia which often comes from eucalyptus tree barks. Some of these paintings are huge and the barks are surprisingly thick.
-Lorrkon or funeral poles : these are hollow tree trunks eaten away by termites, painted all over and in which the remains of the deceased are placed. The whole thing is then lowered into the ground and left to decay over many years.
-The “Mimi” spirits : the ancestral spirits of the Arnhem Land who are supposed to have taught the Aboriginal people their ways of life. Their bodies are very elongated and slim to hide easily in nature. Only a few people today are thought to be able to see them.
All these objects and paintings are decorated with patterns of extraordinary finesse, hence the speciality and reputation of the Arnhem Land. We often see fine rectangular patterns, painted with thin poles or brushes made out of vegetal fibres. The colours, limited to yellow, red, brown, black and white, often come from natural pigments.
For more information about the gallery, visit the website, and perhaps plan a visit for real someday : : http://www.maningrida.com/