My Artist Statement

Marvyn McKenzie Snr was born in Port Augusta. From his Parents and Grandparents he is proudly descended from the following language groups: Adnyamathanha, Luritja, Ngarrindjeri, Irish, and Scottish. If asked to select what language group he strongly identifies with the most he would answer that he is an Adnyamathanha Ararru Yura as his Ngami (Mother-dec) was born at Nepabunna Mission and his Vapapa (Grandfather-dec) was a fully versed Adnyamathanha Mathari Yura lawman.

Marvyn started painting about four years ago when he began to use painting as a tool for anger and stress management after a distressful time when he had an argument with some of his family members and he was looking for something positive to stop the hurt that they had inflicted upon him in his heart, spirit and mind. Marvyn’s main inspiration for all his paintings comes from the stories and beliefs of his Vapapa’s Adnyamathanha Ararru Mathari Yura people of the Flinders Ranges. These stories and beliefs are not gone out of his culture and people but remain a vibrant and relevant part of Adnyamathanha Ararru Mathari Yura culture today.

Marvyn would like to encourage other members of the Adnyamathanha Language Groups to have a go at art because art relieves all his daily stress and provides him with a unique opportunity to learn and practice his people’s traditional beliefs. To those people who say they cannot paint, do not say No until you give it a Go.

Marvyn is also a founding member of the Yarta Arts Group whose aim is to promote the Adnyamathanha, Arabana, Dieri, Kuyani and Wangkangurru Aboriginal Language groups to the public at large and to provide an opportunity for people from these five groups to develop and display their traditional and contemporary artistic rendering of their cultural group’s beliefs and traditions. The Yarta Arts Groups has an annual exhibition held at the Arkaba Woolshed just off the road to Wilpena Pound. This annual exhibition is part of the Brush with Flinders Art shows. All members of the five identified Aboriginal Language group who are artists or thinking about becoming one are invited and encouraged to become a member of Yarta Arts.

This is the very first time that Marvyn has entered into the newly established Australian Arid Lands Botanic Gardens and Fountain Gallery Sculptural and Painting Exhibition and the first time ever learning the techniques of how to do a sculpture. Marvyn would like to take this opportunity to invite and encourage his fellow Aboriginal community members to think very seriously about participating fully in future Australian Arid Lands Botanic Gardens and Fountain Gallery Sculptural and Painting Exhibition.

 ‘When I began to paint it was never ever my intention to paint for profit, my primary motivation was to use art as a form of therapy to heal myself and to learn, reclaim and reaffirm my Adnyamathanha Ararru Mathari Yura people’s beliefs, stories, and language and to hopefully share them with others.

 My paintings were at first a private thing and not many people even realised that I was painting. Now, today, I share my paintings and my own personal interpretation of my Adnyamathanha Ararru Mathari Yura Wadumathanha Nganni Nguthuna Muda Yarta Wandatha culture and heritage with you all.’ 

Walha Udi Marvyn McKenzie – Adnyamathanha Ararru Vukurra MilanaYura –


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