Tribute to Waal Waal – the internationally renowned artist from Aurukun

Release Date: 
21 February 2019
Media release

The Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, has paid tribute to Waal Waal, a strong and inspirational internationally renowned artist and cultural leader from Aurukun who sadly passed away in late January.

“I acknowledge Waal Waal’s commitment and dedication to her community through being an Aurukun custodian of culture and cultural practices,” Minister Scullion said.

“For many years, she was one of the backbones of community justice within Aurukun and was a strong and passionate advocate for the maintaining of culture.

“To ensure that the cultural practices and stories were maintained, she recorded stories and traditions in both language and English.”

She will also be remembered as an internationally renowned artist in the field of weaving and painting.

“Waal Wall was entrusted with the traditional methods of weaving and basketry using cabbage palm and pandanus and her skills in weaving were recognised both locally and nationally,” Minister Scullion said.

“Her painting also received critical acclaim, and she is considered to be one of Australia’s premier artists, with her artwork on display in over 13 public galleries throughout the world including the National Gallery of Australia.

“I’m proud to say that one of her artworks purchased for the Australian Parliament House Collection in 2014 now hangs in the Prime Minister’s office.

“On Australia Day 2019, she was awarded the Aurukun Community, Citizen of the Year Award which was agreed by all community to be deserved and warranted.

“Waal Waal’s legacy to the community lives on for future generations, in both spoken language and visual arts.

“Waal Waal was a true ambassador for Aurukun, and its people and its culture.

“My thoughts and condolences are with the family of Waal Waal and the Aurukun community at this sad time.”