Thomas Nanjiwarra Groote Island Bark Painting

The aim of this article is to assist readers in identifying if their aboriginal bark painting is by Nanjiwarra. It compares examples of his work. Nanjiwarra painted bark painting in the Groote Eylandt style. He used traditional ochre and is a recognized aboriginal bark painting expert.



If you have an Amagula Nanjiwarra bark painting to sell please feel free to contact me. If you want to know what your Thomas Nanjiwarra painting is worth to me please feel free to send me a Jpeg. I would love to see it.


Nanjiwarra did several paintings that depict ceremonies and relate to creation stories. These are the most desirable to collectors. The majority of Thomas Nandjiwarra Amagula aboriginal bark painting has a dark brown or black background.


Nanjiwarra’s earliest works often depict single totemic animals. These include shells insects and sawtooth sharks. many of his larger works depict aspects of the Groote Island creation stories.


Where he draws figures he tends not to depict eyes or facial features. the faces and bodies of his figures instead covered in stippling. Many of his more complex barks contain the morning star motif.

He was an Artist, respected Aboriginal leader and Justice of the Peace. Awarded an MBE in 1970 for his community work. In 1969 was Chairman of the Angurugu Council on Groote Eylandt. He negotiated with mining companies to secure areas to be protected. The second Aboriginal magistrate appointed for the Northern Territory in 1974. In 1981, Nanjiwarra was chairman of the Aboriginal Cultural Foundation. In 1985 he was Chairman of the Groote Eylandt Aboriginal Task Force. He also worked on Aboriginal Benefits Trust Fund and BHP Royalties Trust Fund. Played the role of Charlie in Peter Weir’s 1997 film, The Last Wave. If anyone knows more information about the biography of Thomas Nanjiwara please contact me as I would like to add it to this article.

Care for Aboriginal Bark Painting by ensuring it always stays dry and does not move as ochre can flake off. A bark painting is best stored in a dust-free place and away from insects.

Nanjiwarra is also spelled Nanjiwara and he is sometimes called Amagula after his clan name.

All images in this article are for educational purposes only.

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Thomas Nanjiwarra Images

The following is not a complete list of works but gives a very good idea of this artists style and variety.

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