Vale artist, cultural activist and environmental advisor Dr B Marika AO.
We are saddened to hear of the passing of renowned Aboriginal artist, cultural activist and environmental advisor Dr B Marika AO, who has important family ties to Trinity College.
Dr Marika was born in Yirrkala in north-east Arnhem Land and, together with her sisters, she was one of the first Yolngu women encouraged and authorised to produce works of art by senior male community members. In this area, Dr Marika forged a long and distinguished career as printmaker of international renown.
Her artworks are held by the National Gallery of Australia and the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, alongside numerous state and smaller collections, including Trinity College.
In 2016, Trinity College acquired Dr Marika’s Yalangbara suite of works on paper, augmenting our growing collection of Yolngu artworks by family members and the wider community from Yirrkala, Northern Territory.
Dr Marika was the recipient of an Order of Australia in 2019 for her significant contributions to the visual arts, particularly Indigenous printmaking and bark painting, and in 2020 she was recognised as the Northern Territory’s Senior Territorian of the Year.
It has been the College’s great pleasure and privilege to host various members of the extended Marika family over the last 15 years as artists-in-residence and visiting Indigenous scholars working with students from our Residential College, and as participants in the University of Melbourne’s conservation programs.
We were pleased to welcome Dr Marika’s daughter, Ruby Alderton, to the opening of the Balnhdhurr exhibition in Trinity’s Burke Gallery at the beginning of last year. Alongside Dr Marika’s niece, Mayatili, Ruby was a panellist at the opening event and her works were exhibited alongside those of Dr Marika.
Our thoughts extend to Dr Marika’s family, friends and community.