Joey Nganjmirra

Northern Territory

One of the younger generation of Kunwinkju artists living and working in Gunbalanya in western Arnhem Land, Joey Nganjmirra is a storyteller, dancer and cultural ambassador. His painting Ngaben Bukan -Teaching advocates living and maintaining a culturally rich lifestyle in a contemporary world and was inspired by Nganjmirra’s involvement in many ‘culture camps’, where he helps to encourage kids and adults to return to country. The painting compresses many events into a single scene: Kunwinkju elders teach and perform a corroboree with didjeridu and clapsticks; trucks take people out bush to harvest traditional art and craft materials; some people hunt for meat and yams; men learn how to cut bark from the right tree; women learn how to collect and prepare pandanus to make baskets and traditional floor mats while men teach young boys how to prepare and cook kangaroo using native herbs and spices in a traditional earth oven, which the young men are helping to dig.

Nganjmirra is part of a rich artistic family and clan group (Djalama). He is a member of the Karrbarda dance troupe, which often performs at festivals as well as local ceremonies.