Belonging to the Yowong-Illam-Baluk and Nattarak Baluk clans of the Taungurung people, Mick Harding is an artist specialising in wood working, sculpture, printmaking and giftwares.
For Mick, ‘art is a rainbow of many things’ and his own practice demonstrates this openness to innovative design. His company, Ngarga Warendj –Dancing Wombat, is known for high-quality products that are produced by hand or through ethical licensing agreements. His sculpture commissions have been highly sought by a wide range of clients.
Mick is also a cultural educator and his commitment to knowledge is reflected in the cultural narratives that inform his works. Mick notes the importance of his art making as a way to be both culturally and financially independent. His art is also for his children and community and he says that buying genuine products from Indigenous artists ‘puts money into our pockets and into our
communities - we are closing the gap ourselves.’
Ngarga Warendj are a family business, comprising of Mick & Nicole. Our two sons Mitchil and Corey, along with Mitchils' partner Emily, work for our business. We have been in business since 2005, with Mick starting as a sole trader, and we have grown to become a Company in 2020.
Mick showed an interest in art at a young age, copying the funnies from the papers his Dad brought home from work at The Herald and The Sun newspapers in Melbourne. He was not to pursue this further until after working in Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Management and discovering an interest in learning to create artifacts as his ancestors did.
Taking his inspiration from his ancestors, found through his work in Museums, and collections held by places such as the Koorie Heritage Trust, which demonstrated the linework used in the South East.
He began his art business, and took part in an Indigenous Business Showcase called Tribal Expressions – held for the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.
Over the past 15 years Mick has been commissioned to create individual artworks for private and public clients. His art has been given to visiting dignitaries from countries around the world, such as Japan, Canada, USA and across Europe. He was commissioned by the Premier of Victoria, Dan Andrews, to make a darnuk as a gift from the State of Victoria for the birth of Princess Charlotte in 2015. A darnuk is a traditional Aboriginal bowl used by women for carrying babies, and gathering of food, it was decorated with a shield design for protection.
In 2016, Mick completed a Masters of Fine Arts with distinction, at Federation University.
Mick art designs have been used in a diverse range of ways such as for logos, many types of documents such as Reconciliation Action Plans, strategic reports, Acknowledgement of Country plaques, Branding for a range of places such as a lifestyle living facility, Koori Court Services Victoria and International conferences.