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Barney was born around 1939 in the Minyerri region of the Northern Territory. Barney was an elder and senior custodian for Minyerri and Mambali Country in the upper reaches of the Cox and Arnold rivers, south of the Roper River and west of the Gulf of Carpentaria.
A south-east Arnhem land artist, Barney painted the many Dreamings associated with his country. His bright, unique paintings of multi coloured composition and linear brushwork represent his country and also make reference to the skin of King Brown snake. He possesses a holistic view of his country and expresses that profound understanding in his appealing work. The stippled brushwork gives an interesting texture to all the works. The lines are feathery or stippled rather than solid, blending between the foreground and background colours. The palette is generally bold and highly keyed, with purples, oranges, reds, and browns predominating. Barney’s painted surfaces combine to produce a shimmering effect that is also seen in the recent works of Makinti Napanangka.
Barney painted in a style where each line represents a different aspect of his country. His work is sought after internationally and nationally. He held several successful solo exhibitions and his work is represented in a number of major Australian public and private galleries or collections, such at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra and the Laverty Collection.
Sadly, Barney passed away in 2015.
Australian Heritage Commission National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award Exhibition 1994 Old Parliament House, Canberra.
The Twelfth National Aboriginal Art Award Museum and Art Gallery of the
Northern Territory, Darwin
Inaugural exhibition at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia at Federation Square, October 2002
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
Kerry Stokes Collection, Perth.
Laverty Collection, Sydney.
Macquarie Bank Collection, Sydney.
National Aboriginal Cultural Institute Inc., SA.
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.
Northern Land Council Native Title Collection, Darwin.
R.H. & A. Myer Collection, Melbourne.