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Australia Post exhibits art of the north in miniature

Australia Post is celebrating eminent indigenous artists Banduk Marika and Bede Tungutalum with the release of four new stamps featuring their artwork.

Born into celebrated artistic families, both artists and have received many awards and honours, with their work held in numerous public and private collections.

Australia Post Philatelic Manager, Michael Zsolt said, “This stamp issue features the works of two outstanding artists. We believe this stamp issue highlights not only the richness and beauty inherent in these artworks, but also the creative spirit of the artists that produced them.”

Banduk Marika (b. 1954) belongs to the Rirratjingu clan of north-east Arnhem Land or Miwatj region. She works in linocut, screen-print and also on bark with many subjects relating to her inherited traditional Dreamtime stories.

Bede Tungutalum (b. 1952) is from Bathurst Island, in the Tiwi Islands north of Darwin. Living and working at Wurrumiyanga on Bathurst Island, Bede uses a range of media including carved and painted wooden sculpture, printmaking and painting.

The two domestic base-rate ($1) and two large letter rate ($2) stamps were designed by Lynette Traynor of the Australia Post Design Studio. The stamps feature artworks by both artists and are all from the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra:

  • Pukumani poles, 1988, by Bede Tungutalum, is a linocut and represents the tutini or pukumani poles that play an important role in the complex Tiwi burial rite. These carved poles can be seen at Government House, Darwin and another is displayed in the Sculpture Garden at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.
  • Waterlili and Gaya, 1983, by Banduk Marika, is also a linocut, printed in relief in yellow ink from a single block.
  • Untitled, c. 1984, by Bede Tungutalum, is painted in polymer and natural earth pigments on cotton. This artwork also represents tutini or pukumani poles, an important element of the Tiwi burial rite. The decorated poles, carved from Ironbark, are placed around the grave in the final stage of the lengthy burial ceremony, before being left to weather and decay.
  • Guyamala, 2000, by Banduk Marika, is a linocut and screenprint and relates to her inherited traditional Dreamtime stories.

It depicts the naming of the fishes and is part of a series of prints exploring the theme of Guyurr (the journey) of the Ancestor creators, Djan’kawu, to the shores of northeast Arnhem Land.

The products associated with this stamp issue are a first day cover, stamp pack, booklet of 20 x $1 self-adhesive stamps and a set of four maxicards.

The Art of the North stamp issue is available from participating Post Offices, via mail order on 1800 331 794 and online at auspost.com.au/stamps from 24 October 2017 while stocks last.

Visit the Australia Post Collectables website auspostcollectables.com.au and stay up-to-date with new Australian stamp issues.