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January Nangunyari Namiridali Bark Painter

The aim of this article is to assist readers in identifying if their aboriginal bark painting is by January Nangunyari Namiridali. It compares examples of his work. He painted in a Crocker Island / Western Arnhem Land style.

If you have a January Nangunyari painting to sell please contact me. If you want to know what your bark painting is worth to me please feel free to send me a Jpeg. I would love to see it. Crocker island barks are my passion due to their freedom and expression.


In general bark paintings by January Nangunyari are very loose typical of early Crocker Island Aboriginal Art. January painted on a monotone background of red or yellow. His most collectible works are of thin tall Mimi Figures, which he does with a simple and playful composition.

His work is not complex and does not have any unneeded elements. In many of his paintings, the spirits appear to be waving. Mimi spirits are playful and he captures this element of their naughty playful nature.

Most of his barks are on a red or yellow background. His figures are predominantly white with details in black or red. Some of his most distinctive works have a zebra feel to them.

January did not adopt the raark style of cross-hatching but instead used more traditional parallel lines or blocks of color.

His earlier works have a clearly defined gender. His later works due to mission influence do not. He is one of those early aboriginal artists whose work was not affected by European bias.


Nangunyari was born in 1918 and died 1973. His works are sometimes mistaken for other artists such as Namatbara, Jimmy Mijaumijau or Wagbara.

Along with many other Arnhem Land Artists, there is not a lot of information readily available about January Nangunyari. He belonged to Djalama clan spoke Kunwinjku Language and was of Yirrdjdja moiety.

He was among the first group of artists on Crocker Island to have his work documented by anthropologists in the 1960’s.

If anyone knows more information about the biography of January, please contact me, as I would like to add it to this article.

Nangunyari can also be spelled  Nongunyari or Nanganyari or even Nangunjari.

Namanjwarre The Crocodile

Namanjwarre, the saltwater crocodile, Corcodylus porosus. The crocodile Namanjwarre is a Yiridja moiety totem.

The estuarine crocodile or Namanjwarre is the protector of the sacred objects of the Mardayin ceremony. The Mardayin ceremony is an important rite of passage for Kuninjku language speakers of Western Arnhem Land. Namanjwarre would devour anyone who transgressed from the correct ceremonial protocol.

Crocodiles are rarely killed for food but their eggs are sought after during the wet season when the females are nesting. A major crocodile sacred site exists near the outstation of Kurrindin, in the Liverpool River District.

Namanjwarre is an important totem and is danced in the sacred and secret ritual of the Mardayin ceremony.

January Nangunyari Namiridali Bark painting Images

The following are images are not a complete list of works by the artist but give a good idea of the style and variety of the artist.

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