Bardayal ‘Lofty’ Nadjamerrek AO was born around 1926 at Kukkulumurr in the upper reaches of the Mann River region of Western Arnhem Land. His father, Yanjorluk, was from the Honey Dreaming Ankung Djang estate of the Mok Clan. He was brought up on the Arnhem Land plateau with his family, developing a detailed knowledge of the stone country. During this time, he began his long artistic apprenticeship, watching his father and other men paint on the rocky outcrops and shelters.
In the 1940’s Bardayal worked as a timber cutter. Later he worked as a miner, stockman, buffalo shooter and market gardener. Despite this, his connection to traditional culture remained strong, and he remained active in the ceremonial activities of the region. Bardayal Nadjamerrek AO passed away in October 2009 aged 83 on his country at the remote West Arnhem Land Outstation of Kabulwarnamyo.
Bardayal Lofty Nadjamerrek AO was a renowned artist, respected traditional leader and ceremonial master. He was also recognised as being the most knowledgeable man about the wider Arnhem Land Plateau region, its nature, people and traditions.
Throughout his extraordinary life anthropologists, linguists, art historians and scientists sought out Bardayal as a consultant. Bardayal was also known to be the last of the Nawarrdegen – ‘stone country’ artists who commenced their illustrious careers by painting on the walls of local rock shelters. His paintings on bark and paper are found in the world’s museums and art galleries and other significant public and private collections.
Injalak Arts 2010