Napuwarri Marawili

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DOB: 1967

Napuwarri's moiety is Yirritja. He is from the Madarrpa clan and his homeland is Yilpara. He is the son of the great artist Bakulangay Marawili. In the last years of his life, Napuwarri worked closely with his father including on a number of collaborative works. He was endorsed as a legitimate artist of his clan's sacred designs by his father before his passing.

Napuwarri has been greatly influenced by his father's original style and has built up a versatile range of artistic skills. As well as dancing and singing in ceremony, he sculpts, paints and makes prints.

As a young man he travelled to the east coast and worked as a carpenter. He married a Murri woman from Cairns and had two children before he moved back to North east Arnhem Land. He has strong links to the Numbulwar community through his second wife Rita and spending time there as a child, before moving back to his family's Blue Mud Bay homeland of Yilpara in the 1980s. Napuwarri worked for Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Art Centre for two years before returning to live in Yilpara in 2006.

Napuwarri first came to wider attention in 2005 with the Yakumirri exhibition at Raft artspace in Darwin. The Holmes a Court Collection bought this set of paintings in its entirety. His first solo show was at Suzanne O'Connell Gallery in 2008. The National Gallery of Australia bought two works from this show. The Kerry Stokes Collection has also acquired his work.

In 2018 Napuwarri won the prize for Best bark painting in the 35th NATSIAA awards , he sung his manikay (clan song) to the crowd as he accepted this award. The bark was acquired by the Kluge Ruhe in the USA.

Copyright Kate Owen Gallery, April 2021


  • Art Gallery of Ballerat, VIC
  • Artbank, Sydney
  • Holmes a Court Collection, Perth
  • Kerry Stokes Collection, Perth
  • National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
  • The Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of the University of Virginia, USA
  • Voituron Collection, Brussels
  • Westfarmers Collection, Perth

Awards and Recognition

2021 38th NATSIAA, Darwin - Finalist
2019 36th NATSIAA, Darwin - Finalist
2018 35th NATSIAA, Darwin - Best Bark Painting - Winner
2017 Wynne Prize, Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney - Finalist
2015 31st NATSIAA, Darwin - Finalist
2008 25th NATSIAA, Darwin - Bark Painting Award - Highly Commended
2005 22nd NATSIAA, Darwin - Finalist


Selected Solo Exhibitions

2008 Napuwarri, Suzanne O'Connell Gallery, Brisbane

Selected Group Exhibitions

2021 Of the Land, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2019 Tarnanthi, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
2018 Minytji - Essence of the Land, Aboriginal Signature Estrangin Gallery, Brussels
2017 Environmental Defenders Office NT Fundraising Auction, Outstation - art from art centres, Darwin
2017 Mulka, ARTKELCH Collectors Lounge @ kptec, Schorndorf, Germany
2017 Buku-Larrnggay, Art Karlsruhe, Germany
2017 Buku-Larrnggay, ARTKELCH, Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany
2016 Mala - Together as a Group, Raft Artspace - Core Collective Studio Space, Hobart
2015 Buku-Larrnggay Mulka - Yirrkala Print Space Exhibition, Gapan Gallery, Garma Festival, Gulkula, Northeast Arnhem Land
2015 Lumggurma - Brumby Ute Aspen, Colorado, USA
2012 The Philosophy of Water, Short St Gallery, Broome
2010 17th Biennale of Sydney - Larrakitj, the Kerry Stokes Collection, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney
2010 The White Show, Short Street Gallery, Broome
2009 Menagerie; Contemporary Indigenous Sculpture, Australian Museum and touring exhibition
2009 After Berndt - Etchings from the Drawings, Indigenart, Mossenson Gallery, Perth
2008 Etched in the Sun, Prints made by Indigenous artists in collaboration with Basil Hall & Printers, Drill Hall Gallery, Australian National University, Canberra
2008 Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Print Space - After Berndt Etchings at Print Exhibition, Gapan Gallery, Festival of Darwin
2008 Buku-Larrnggay Mulka - Berndt Etchings, Gapan Gallery, Garma Festival, Gulkula, Northeast Arnhem Land
2008 Fire and Lightning, Suzanne O'Connell Gallery, Brisbane
2008 Bitpit Yirrkala Sculpture, RAFT Artspace, Darwin
2006 Bulayi - Small Gems, Suzanne O'Connell Gallery, Brisbane
2005 Yakumirri, Holmes a Court Gallery, Perth
2005 Yakumirri, Raft Artspace, Darwin
2004 Circle. Line. Column, Annandale Galleries, Sydney
2003 Trees, Rex Irwin Gallery, Sydney