The Morning Star Painter: A family of artists

Title:
The Morning Star Painter: A family of artists
NFSA ID:
56884
Year:
1980
Category:
WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised that the following clip may contain images and voices of deceased persons
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This short film narrated by David Gulpilil documents the production of a bark painting by the highly acclaimed artist Djiwul (Jack) Wunuwun in his homeland community of Gamedi near Maningrida in Arnhem Land. Using ochres, clay and charcoal as his paints, Jack Wunuwun sits and paints. His wife Margaret leaves the baby with Jack as she and the other women go off to collect pandanus leaves for weaving into baskets. The women also collect roots to create colour dyes. Summary by Liz McNiven.

The clip explains the use of colour and shows Jack Wunuwun painting on the bark. It also shows his wife Margaret and other women collecting the raw materials for basket weaving. The finished artworks and craft products are sold both nationally and internationally by the Outstation Resource Association in nearby Maningrida.

The Morning Star Painter synopsis

This short film narrated by David Gulpilil documents the production of a bark painting by the highly acclaimed artist Djiwul (Jack) Wunuwun in his homeland community of Gamedi near Maningrida in Arnhem Land.

The Morning Star Painter curator's notes

This short film by Curtis Levy records the creation of an artistic masterpiece, the Banubirr (Morning Star) series of paintings by the legendary painter, Jack Wunuwun.

It highlights the importance of the arts industry to the social, cultural and economic lives of Arnhem Land artists, craftspeople and their families. Making and selling art also supports the continuity of the peoples’ cultural traditions and lifestyle.

The film presents the process of making a bark painting and the significance of the story painted on the bark, within the religious life of the artist and his peoples. It shows Wunuwun harvesting and treating the bark in preparation for painting; preparing clay, charcoal and ochre paints; and, most importantly, performing the appropriate songs and dances to accompany the creation of a visual representation of the Morning Star story.

Wunuwun is a nationally and internationally collected artist. Morning Star Painter screened at the 1980 Melbourne International Film Festival.

Notes by Liz McNiven.

Production company:
Curtis Levy Productions
Director:
Curtis Levy
Writer:
Curtis Levy
Music:
Dick Bandilil, David Gulpilil
Acknowledegments:
Produced with the assistance of the Australia Council for the Arts.