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Buwatpuy Gumana Michael, Yingapungapu, 125x54cm Bark
  • Buwatpuy Gumana Michael, Yingapungapu, 125x54cm Bark
  • Buwatpuy Gumana Michael, Yingapungapu, 125x54cm Bark
  • Buwatpuy Gumana Michael, Yingapungapu, 125x54cm Bark
  • Buwatpuy Gumana Michael, Yingapungapu, 125x54cm Bark
Buwatpuy Gumana Michael, Yingapungapu, 125x54cm Bark
Buwatpuy Gumana Michael, Yingapungapu, 125x54cm Bark
Buwatpuy Gumana Michael, Yingapungapu, 125x54cm Bark
Buwatpuy Gumana Michael, Yingapungapu, 125x54cm Bark

Buwatpuy Gumana Michael, Yingapungapu, 125x54cm Bark

$1,499.00
  • Aboriginal Artist - Buwatpuy Gumana Michael
  • Community - Yirkala
  • Homeland - Yilpara
  • Aboriginal Art Centre - Buku-Larrŋgay Mulka Centre
  • Catalogue number - 618-18
  • Materials - Earth pigments on Stringybark
  • Size(cm) - H125 W54 D0.6  (irregular)
  • Postage variants - Artwork posted flat and ready to hang with a metal mount on the reverse
  • Orientation - As displayed

The miny’tji (sacred clan design) painted on this piece identifies the Dhalwaŋu saltwater estate of Garraparra on Blue Mud Bay. Here is the sacred site for the Dhalwaŋu Yiŋapuŋapu, a mortuary based sand sculpture used for the initial rites of the dead. The deceased placed within the Yiŋapuŋapu’s elliptical confines has its own contamination kept at bay.
The Yiŋapuŋapu is the low relief sand sculpture used traditionally to keep the contamination of initial mortuary at bay. It is used in ritual by the Maŋgalili, Maḏarrpa and the Dhalwaŋu clans. Detail in its construction identifies particular clan ownership thus tenure to its particular site, Dhalwaŋu saltwater country at Garraparra, a peninsula within Blue Mud Bay.
A giant tide (tsunami) that capsized the ancestral Turtle Hunters canoe called Yinikambu washed it back to shore from the waters there out deep, to cleanse the site of Yiŋapuŋapu, the waters then imbued with the deceased's Dhalwaŋu life force washes back out to the sanctified saltwater’s of Garraparra. Their paraphernalia still floats in these waters maintaining the link between these clans.
The hooked spears sit under the Madurai (Casuarina) trees at the place Bat’wuy and conjures the connections between the ancient mariners and the law of mortuary for Dhalwangu. The ceremony is at its conclusion with Yambirrku (Parrot fish) within the ground. Gunyan the sand crab cleanse and renew. It is happening in the distant time before time and also in the present and the far future. The fish can also be a representation of the bones of the deceased.
The design also references Mamaparra also known as Nyapiliŋu the spirit woman and the islands Gunyuru and Gamarraliŋa. Sometimes referenced is the maternal Thunderhead cloud Waŋupini. This is shown in its feminine shape as the anvil shaped Wet Season cumulo-nimbus. There is a metaphor for the soul’s journey from life to death to rest to rebirth. The saltwater flows to the horizon where it is taken up as water vapour by the feminine thunderhead cloud which carries it as the pregnant maternal shape to the escarpment where it gives birth through rain.

In many ways, the harvesting and material production to create bark paintings is an art in itself. The bark is stripped from Eucalyptus stringybark. It is generally harvested from the tree during the wet season. Two horizontal slices and a single vertical slice are made into the tree, and the bark is carefully peeled off. The smooth inner bark is kept and placed in a fire. After firing, the bark is flattened and weighted to dry flat. Once dry, the bark becomes a rigid surface and is ready to paint upon.

Collecting Barks in Yirkala

Djawakan Marika, Yilpirr Wanambi, Wukun Wanambi and Nambatj Munu+ïgurr Harvesting stringybark for artists Photo credit: David Wickens

Harvesting barks for artists to paint in Yirkala

Wanapa Munu+ïgurr, Yilpirr Wanambi and Wukun Wanambi harvesting stringybark. Photo credit: David Wickens

Firing a bark ready for artists to paint in Yirkala

Wanapa and Nambatj Munu+ïgurr firing a bark to start the flattening process. Photo credit: David Wickens

Arnhem Land paintings are characterised by the use of fine crosshatched patterns of clan designs that carry ancestral power: the crosshatched patterns, known as rarrk in the west and miny’tji in the east, produce an optical brilliance reflecting the presence of ancestral forces.

These patterns are composed of layers of fine lines, laid onto the surface of the bark using a short-handled brush of human hair, just as they are painted onto the body for ceremony.

Aboriginal Artists, Rerrkiwaŋa Munuŋgurr painting her husbands design Gumatj fire or Gurtha.

Rerrkiwaŋa Munuŋgurr painting her husbands design Gumatj fire or Gurtha. Photo credit: Buku-Larrŋgay Mulka Centre

 

The artist’s palette consists of red and yellow ochres of varying intensity and hues, from flat to lustrous, as well as charcoal and white clay(pictured above). Pigments that were once mixed with natural binders such as egg yolk have, since the 1960s, been combined with water-soluble wood glues.

Naminapu Maymuru White collecting gapan white clay used for painting.

Naminapu Maymuru White collecting gapan white clay used for painting. Photo credit: Edwina Circuitt

 

Buwatpuy is a son of the late Dhakawal, who was a brother to Gawirrin Gumana. Buwatpuy is brother to Yinimala and married to Wirrtjiwirrtji 2 Dhamarrandji (daughter to Bunbatjiwuy). Wirrtjiwirrtji assists her husband to paint. His works have gained an impressiveness in painterly skill and size.

Buku-Larrŋgay Mulka Centre is the Indigenous community-controlled art centre of Northeast Arnhem Land. Located in Yirrkala, a small Aboriginal community on the north-eastern tip of the Top End of the Northern Territory, approximately 700km east of Darwin. Our primarily Yolŋu (Aboriginal) staff of around twenty services Yirrkala and the approximately twenty-five homeland centres in the radius of 200km.

In the 1960’s, Narritjin Maymuru set up his own beachfront gallery from which he sold art that now graces many major museums and private collections. He is counted among the art centre’s main inspirations and founders, and his picture hangs in the museum. His vision of Yolŋu-owned business to sell Yolŋu art that started with a shelter on a beach has now grown into a thriving business that exhibits and sells globally.

Buku-Larrŋgay –  “the feeling on your face as it is struck by the first rays of the sun (i.e. facing East) 

Mulka – “a sacred but public ceremony.”

In 1976, the Yolŋu artists established ‘Buku-Larrŋgay Arts’ in the old Mission health centre as an act of self-determination coinciding with the withdrawal of the Methodist Overseas Mission and the Land Rights and Homeland movements.

In 1988, a new museum was built with a Bicentenary grant and this houses a collection of works put together in the 1970s illustrating clan law and also the Message Sticks from 1935 and the Yirrkala Church Panels from 1963.

In 1996, a screen print workshop and extra gallery spaces was added to the space to provide a range of different mediums to explore. In 2007, The Mulka Project was added which houses and displays a collection of tens of thousands of historical images and films as well as creating new digital product. 

Still on the same site but in a greatly expanded premises Buku-Larrŋgay Mulka Centre now consists of two divisions; the Yirrkala Art Centre which represents Yolŋu artists exhibiting and selling contemporary art and The Mulka Project which acts as a digital production studio and archiving centre incorporating the museum.

 

Text courtesy: Buku-Larrŋgay Mulka Centre




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