Djon Mundine

Always was Always Will Be | 2024

Djon Mudine Always Was Always Will Be
Djon Mudine Always Was Always Will Be
Always was Always Will Be. @ North East Wiradjuri Cultural Centre
A red ochre life size body print on the inside striped wall of Kandos Aboriginal Centre Traditional Indigenous people have left hand prints and/or stencils in red ochre to record their presence all over the Australian continent including cave walls in the Sydney Basin itself. This full body is a statement of prior un-ceded ownership and to remember those large numbers of innocent men women and children murdered in the killings of the colonial wars.


Djon Mundine is a charismatic art curator, writer, speaker, and activist from the Bandjalung nation of the Australian east coast. He is of Aboriginal (Bandjalung) and Irish (County Cork) descent. He is also connected with the Yolngu (Aboriginal) communities of Milingimbi, Maningrida, and Ramingining of central Arnhem Land through working there for 16 (sixteen) years through the 1980s, 1990s, and into the 21stcentury. He has held senior curatorial positions at state and national institutions (AGNSW, MCA, QAG, NAM); the Kunstsammlung Norhreinwesphalen (Dusseldorf), Heyward Gallery (London), Louisiana Museum (Danmark), and collaborated with the NGA on major international exhibitions such as The World of Dreaming, at the Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia. Djon is a seminal figure in the critical writing on Australia’s First Peoples cultural expression, including Ngadhu-Ngulili-Ngeaninyagu: I-We-Us. A Personal History of Aboriginal Art in the Premier State, Campbelltown Arts Centre. Djon recently supported Kamilaroi/Bigambul artist Archie Moore’s Golden Lion winning first for Australia, Kith and Kin; 2024’s Venice Biennale.


At the 2015 Cementa Festival I worked with over 80 desendants of survivors of the 1820s Dabee massacre; Jimmy and Peggy Lambert, painting a memorial mural on the external wall of the Kandos Museum that will be added to every festival. For the Dingo Project (2022) Ngunungula Art Gallery, (Bowral) and Hervey Bay Art Gallery I performed an In Conversation With My Grandmother (a Tanami Desert cross-bred Dingo) and left a permanent red ochre body self-print; Always Was, Always Will Be. In 2023, I performed a short poetry performance in homage to Caribbean poet Eduard Glissant, as part of Daniel Boyd’s Rainbow Serpent exhibition at the Gropius Bahr, Berlin.

Materials | performance and red ochre painting
Location | North East Wiradjuri Cultural Centre
Djon Mudine Always Was Always Will Be