More about Johnny

‘My name is Johnny Warrkatja Malibirr. My Father is the late Ian Wuluwul Malibirr and my Mother is Lucy Wanapuyngu. I was born in Darwin on the 22nd of May 1970 as their eldest son. As a young boy I spent some time living in Dhupuwamirri. There I watched song man and Wanapuyngu elder Roy Ashleigh and Guyula elder Raymond Marpin to paint on bark. Together with my father, they taught me the stories, the designs and the songs. Since my father has passed away in 2010, I am the eldest of the family and carry their songs and knowledge for the Malibirr clan as well as for the Wanapuyngu clan. I travelled to Canberra in 2000 and performed at the official opening of “Aboriginal Modern Worlds” Exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia.’

Johnny Warrkatja Malibirr is a Yolŋu man from the remote East Arnhem Land community of Gapuwiyak. He is Chair of the Gapuwiyak Culture and Arts Aboriginal Corporation. You can see a selection of Johnny’s paintings in the slideshow at right and videos of Johnny talking about his work, including illustrating Little Bird’s Day on the Arts Centre website.

In 2017 Johnny was the inaugural winner of the Kestin Indigenous Illustrator Award, an initiative of The Kestin Family Foundation with Magabala Books.

Johnny received $10,000, a mentorship and the opportunity to illustrate the children’s picture book, Little Bird’s Day by renowned author and illustrator Sally Morgan.
• Shortlisted for the CBCA Crichton Award for New Illustrator
• CBCA 2020 Notable Book of the Year: Early Childhood
• CBCA 2020 Notable Book of the Year: Picture Book
• Shortlisted for the 2020 ABIA Small Publishers’ Children’s Book of the Year.