Old Masters
Creative articulations of an ancestral text

by Samuel Curkpatrick

Anticipating the upcoming National Museum of Australia exhibition Old Masters, this paper explores some wider significances of bark painting within Yolŋu ceremonial and legal contexts. Miny’tji (designs) are introduced as one element within the wider constellation of rom (law and correct practice for society and culture). This approach broadens the definition of an old master, resonating with the Yolŋu hermeneutic that creative and technical ability bring efficacy and vibrancy to orthodox forms.