Artist: Leo Melpi Maru
Language: Murrinh Patha
Area: Wadeye (Port Keats) Northern Territory
Medium: Ochres on linen
Size: 1100 x 700 mm
Palya Art 0365
Price: AUD $1,800.00
Leo Melpi Maru was born in August 1935, a member of the Yek Maninh people of Wadeye (pronounced Wad-Aire), 320 kms southwest of Darwin. A region of monsoon and mangrove forests, beautiful pristine beaches, mountain ranges, floodplains and fluctuating rivers, parts of Mr Melpi’s country is considered still to be often inpenatrable.
Speaking Murrinh Patha as his first and main language, Mr. Melpi was a bark-painter in the 1980’s later becoming known for his ‘Pictorial Painting’, works of which are held in collections such as the National Gallery of Australia.
Full of narrative, this pictorial painting – with the artists’ classic geometric design – includes places of significance in his country and the important food source fish, abundant in his coastal region.
Talked of today as “The Eldest” for the Murrinh Patha speakers in the Wadeye community (there are ten different languages spoken here), Leo Melpi Maru, a quiet man, is currently at home looking after his wife, referred to by researchers and community members alike for his cultural knowledge, so apparent this painting. Helen Read 2016
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Copyright for the work and its description is owned by the artist and his or her people.