International award throws spotlight on Maningrida

The work of Maningrida’s internationally acclaimed artist, John Mawurndjul, attracted the limelight at the 2019 MuseWeb conference in Boston recently.

MuseWeb was founded in Los Angeles in 1997 when museums starting to explore the Internet as a new way to engage audiences and participants.

Museums from around the world submit their best digital projects each year in the hope of winning a GLAMi Award, which recognises the most innovative projects in the cultural heritage sector.

The year the GLAMi went to the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) in Sydney, for its website

The website was developed with John Mawrundjul as a two-year project to support the MCA’s major retrospective exhibition John Mawurndjul: I am the old and the new.

John Mawurndjul is a Kuninjku master bark painter and is celebrated for his mastery of rarrk (fine-painted cross-hatching), a tradition shared by generations of Kuninjku artists.

The MCA’s exhibition of bark paintings and sculptures told the stories of Kuninjku culture and the significant locations surrounding the artist’s home in Western Arnhem Land.

Jean-Pierre Chabrol, Head of Digital Media at MCA, said the website is a milestone of deep consultation over two years between the artist, his community and the Museum.

The site’s design was interconnected with the development of the exhibition and 400-page catalogue, in association with the Bawinanga Aboriginal Corporation’s enterprise, Maningrida Arts & Culture.

“This year’s GLAMi awards attracted 16 submissions, which were narrowed to three finalists, and won.

“This is a very significant award in our industry and it’s a celebration of the long and deep relationship the MCA has with John Mawurndjul and Maningrida Arts & Culture.”

Maningrida Arts & Culture General Manager, Michelle Culpitt, there was a strong link between Maningrida artists and the internet.

“We became the first Aboriginal art centre to have a website when the Culture office produced one back in 1994.”

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