Wandjina natural earth pigments on eucalyptus bark 41.5 x 24cm (16 5/16 x 9 7/16in).
PROVENANCE: Painted circa 1962 Private collection Sotheby's, Aboriginal Art, Sydney, 29 July 2003, lot 72 Niagara Galleries, Melbourne Private collection
EXHIBITED: Blue Chip VIII: The Collectors' Exhibition, Niagara Galleries, Melbourne, 2006, cat.30.
Wattie Karruwara is one of a small group of artists that included Mickey Bungkuni and Charlie Numbulmoore, who painted few works on bark depicting Wandjinas in the 1960s. Karruwara painted with Bungkuni at the Mowanjum community near Derby in North Western Australia, and is renowned for his exquisite suite of paintings on paper that were produced for American anthropologist John McCaffrey between 1964 and 1966. Two examples depicting Wandjinas from the series are now held in the National Gallery of Australia. Karruwara's distinctive Wandjina paintings typically show the spirit beings with rayed hair bundles, as in this rare example.