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Wandjuk Marika Wandjuk Marika i(A94536 works by) (a.k.a. Wandjuk Djuakan Marika)
Born: Established: 1927 Bremer Island, North-east Arnhem Land, Arnhem Land, Top End, Northern Territory, ; Died: Ceased: 15 Jun 1987 Darwin, Darwin area, Northern Territory,
Gender: Male
Heritage: Aboriginal ; Aboriginal riratjingu
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Wandjuk Marika OBE, was an Australian Aboriginal painter, actor, composer and land rights activist. He was a member of the Dhuwa moiety, Rirratjingu group of the Yolngu people. Marika had inherited extensive rights to land, from his father who was a clan leader. As a young man Marika leant to read and write at the Methodist Overseas Mission established at Yirrakala in 1935, and eventually became an teacher's assistant in the mission school, and was active in translating the Bible into the Gumatj language.

His proficiency in the English language became an valuable asset, in 1963, he was able to between several clans and the Nabalco Co. in the protests against the decision to grant mining leases on the Grove Peninsula. That August, he helped to create and send the first of several bark petitions the Commonwealth government, see the Yirrkala Bark Petition 1963.

As an artist, Marika was taught by his father, their painting of Rirratjingu clan themes were acquired by galleries and museums during the 1950s and 1960s. Become a major Aboriginal artist Marika became a member of the Aboriginal Arts Advisory committee of the Australian Council of Arts from 1970 to 1973, and was also chaired the Aboriginal arts Board from 1975 to 1980. Further, he became a director of Aboriginal Arts and Crafts Pty Ltd, and a member of the advisory committee of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies.

Marika was a significant Indigenous spokesman, and travelled the world as a cultural ambassador for Indigenous affairs. In 1979, He was a appointed an Order of the British Empire (OBE).

He was the son of Mawalan Marika and his siblings are Dhuwarrwarr Marika and Banduk Marika.(Source: Jennifer Isaacs, Australian Dictionary of Biography website; Antipodes, December 2005)

Most Referenced Works


  • The Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award named the the Wandjuk Marika 3D Memorial Award in his honour.

Personal Awards

2019 winner Australia Council Grants, Awards and Fellowships National Indigenous Arts Awards Memorial 3D Award
1979 OBE The Order of the British Empire Officer of the Order of the British Empire
Last amended 15 Aug 2019 15:01:15
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