Ancestral Powers and the Aesthetic: Arnhem Land painting and objects from the Donald Thomson Collection




About the Exhibition

This remarkable exhibition put on show for the first time the bark paintings collected by Donald Thomson in the 1930s and early 1940 – some of the oldest and rarest examples in existence.

The Donald Thomson Collection features works by legendary Yolngu figure Djapu clan leader Wonggu, and the exhibition included the first bark painting Donald Thomson collected and the brushes and palette that Wonggu used to produce it.

The works on display were powerful examples of a rich Yolngu artistic heritage with their extraordinary combinations of bold designs, patterns and colour. They included extremely rare items like a painting that depicts an image of one of the Djan'kawu Sisters' ancestors in human form.

Toured by Museum Victoria
Total Attendance: 2128 


Opening event and curator talk.

Further information

Listen to Lindy Allen discuss the collection