Australian, 20th century, male.
Born 1903; died 1976.
Yirawala lived for many years at the Croker Island Mission, where collectors and ethnologists travelled to buy his work for museums and collections. Using ochre on a kind of papyrus, he depicted schematic figures in a typically ornamental style, and is considered one of the most remarkable painters on bark in west Arnhem Land. His figures represent the spirits of those who have departed, the ancestors. The exact sacred meaning of these paintings must escape us, but the mystery of their inventive richness and form challenges the onlooker....