The Ramingining Collection of Aboriginal Art

The Ramingining Collection includes approximately 276 works, bark paintings and wood-carved sculptural and functional objects, from north eastern Arnhem Land, specifically commissioned for an exhibition at the Power Gallery of Contemporary Art in 1984 and subsequently acquired for the JW Power Collection. The Ramingining Collection was put together between 1981 and 1984 by curator Djon Mundine when he was an arts adviser at Ramingining. Ramingining is a small community, some 500 kms east of Darwin and 20 kms inland from the Australian coastline. The works in the Collection centre on the Yolngu system of classification of the natural world. Groupings of works represent the mangroves, the forests, the freshwater swamps, the oceans and beaches, the jungles and the plains and the many creatures that inhabit them.

In 2001, the MCA published a major book on the Ramingining Collection titled The Native Born: Objects and Representations from Ramingining, Arnhem Land, which accompanied an international tour between July 2001 and April 2003 of The Native Born: Objects and Representations from Ramingining, Arnhem Land. The exhibition toured to the Sprengel Museum Hannover, Germany; Palacio Velázquez, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain; São Paulo, Brazil; the Asia Society Museum, New York, USA and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei, Taiwan.

Native Born

Installation view, The Native Born: Objects and Representations from Raminginging, Arnhem Land, Museum of Contemporary Art 1996

It is important to note that the Maningrida Collection, the Ramingining Collection and the Arnott’s Collection are three remarkable collections of Aboriginal art which complement one another, and came to the Museum because of its commitment and involvement with the Aboriginal communities, and a curatorial perspective from ‘within’ the communities in the case of the two closely related areas of Ramingining and Maningrida.