Djambawa Marawili: Art is my weapon

Djambawa Marawili AM (centre) at the Graduation Ceremony for ANKAAA's Arts Worker Extension Program

Djambawa Marawili AM (centre) at the Graduation Ceremony for ANKAAA’s Arts Worker Extension Program.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has been in Aboriginal communities in North East Arnhem Land this week, as part of his promise ‘to be not just the Prime Minister but the Prime Minister for Aboriginal Affairs.’

One of the people that the Prime Minister will be consulting is Djambawa Marawili AM, the senior ceremonial leader of the Blue Mud Bay region of North East Arnhem Land and a member of the Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Council.

Marawili is also one of Australia’s most celebrated Aboriginal bark painters and sculptors.

He’s from the Madarppa clan and his totem, the baru or the saltwater crocodile, often feature in his artwork. Marawili explains that his paintings are documents of his country, telling the stories of his ancestors and his lands through intricate patterns and colourful ochre.

He uses art ‘to strengthen me to get up and face political things, with my own stories and my own patterns and design. That it my tools and that is my weapon.’

Marawili is also the chair of ANKAA, the Association of Northern, Kimberley and Arnhem Aboriginal Artists, and alongside Christina Davidson, CEO of ANKAA, he discusses the work that the peak body does with Aboriginal owned art centres across the Northern Territory and the Kimberly.

[Source] ABC Radio National: Djambawa Marawili: Art is my weapon