COMMUNITY: Gangan, NT
LANGUAGE GROUP: Yolngu
Manini's moiety is Yirritja. Her clan is Dhalwangu and her homeland is Gangan, which is about three hours drive south-west from Yirrkala, NT. She is an innovative artist who has received acclaim for her original approach to her bark paintings and larrakitj memorial poles.
Manini is the daughter of Dhakawal and older sister of Yinimala. After the passing of her father in 1994, her uncle, the legendary Elder and artist Gawirrin Gumana AO, took a strong fatherly role. He also instructed the children in regard to art. She is married to and assists her Marrakulu clan artist husband Garawan Wanambi.
In 2009, Manini began to paint in her own right. Her subject matter was her clan designs of the deep ocean, known as Mungurru. From 2012 onwards, Manini started approaching her barks and larrakitj memorial poles in innovative new ways.
She was the first to apply her base composition using just a marwat, which is an exceptionally fine brush made from a few strands of human hair. She also initiated the practice of applying her ochre paints directly onto the bare bark or wood, without a base layer of natural pigment as a background. In recent years she has also combined her natural earth pigments with white clay which as resulted in a bright pastel colour range.
All these pioneering approaches has resulted in a body of work that is remarkably meticulous, light, and perfectly captures the wave-like patterning of the saltwater currents surrounding the Djalma Bay peninsula of the artist's Country.
In 2019 her larrakitj memorial poles were included in the groundbreaking exhibition 'Gurrutu' for the Tarnanthi exhibition. The Art Gallery of South Australia acquired her pieces, and her works are also in the esteemed private collections of Kerry Stokes and Debra and Dennis Scholl.
She is certainly a rising star in the contemporary art scene and 'one to watch' over the coming years.
Copyright Kate Owen Gallery, January 2022