NOTED local First Nations artist Michael (Garmarroongoo) Huddleston, 73, has battled ill health to produce a body of 40 paintings which will go on show at Burrunju Aboriginal Gallery by the lake from this evening, November 20.
Huddleston’s paintings depict in the traditional Raark design, totems and spirits relating to real-life activities such as hunting, fishing, singing and dancing. Crocodiles, dugongs, turtles, birds, lizards, fish, kangaroos, wallabies and snakes are often depicted alongside Mimi Spirits.
Huddleston is descended from the Ngardi language group in the Roper River region of East Arnhem Land, now known as Ngukurr. His father, Harry Huddleston, was a traditional owner from Burrungu, also known as the Ruin City.
Born in 1947 in Sydney, where his parents and older brother were moved from Groote Eylandt after the bombing of Darwin in 1941, he left Sydney in his early 20s and moved to Darwin but returned to Sydney and later moved to Canberra after the destruction of Darwin by Cyclone Tracy.
He worked in Aboriginal Affairs before turning to painting, and has been a cultural ambassador for many years. Travelling around has taken him to all parts of Australia and overseas, including Switzerland. He’s been exhibiting in Canberra since the mid-1990s and became a familiar face at Multicultural Festival and National Folk Festival.
The Art of Michael (Garmarroongoo) Huddleston, Burrunju Aboriginal Gallery, 245 Lady Denman Drive Yarramundi Reach, November 20 to December 4, Monday-Saturday, 10am-4pm. Opening tonight, Friday, November 20, from 6pm.