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Gurrundul #1 Marawili Deborah, Gurrtjpi, 73x46cm Bark
  • Gurrundul #1 Marawili Deborah, Gurrtjpi, 73x46cm Bark
  • Gurrundul #1 Marawili Deborah, Gurrtjpi, 73x46cm Bark
  • Gurrundul #1 Marawili Deborah, Gurrtjpi, 73x46cm Bark
  • Gurrundul #1 Marawili Deborah, Gurrtjpi, 73x46cm Bark
  • Gurrundul #1 Marawili Deborah, Gurrtjpi, 73x46cm Bark
Gurrundul #1 Marawili Deborah, Gurrtjpi, 73x46cm Bark
Gurrundul #1 Marawili Deborah, Gurrtjpi, 73x46cm Bark
Gurrundul #1 Marawili Deborah, Gurrtjpi, 73x46cm Bark
Gurrundul #1 Marawili Deborah, Gurrtjpi, 73x46cm Bark
Gurrundul #1 Marawili Deborah, Gurrtjpi, 73x46cm Bark

Gurrundul #1 Marawili Deborah, Gurrtjpi, 73x46cm Bark

$1,509.00
  • Aboriginal Artist - Gurrundul #1 Marawili Deborah
  • Community - Yirkala
  • Homeland - Yilpara
  • Aboriginal Art Centre - Buku-Larrŋgay Mulka Centre
  • Catalogue number - 1604/19
  • Materials - Earth pigments on Stringybark
  • Size(cm) - H73 W46 D0.6  
  • Postage variants - Artwork posted flat and ready to hang with a metal mount for stability
  • Orientation - As displayed

The Maḏarrpa travelled to live permanently at Bäniyala, clan land north on Blue Mud Bay under the direction of clan leader Wakuthi. The Maḏarrpa always had Ancestral connection to this land - no dispute. The setting up of an outstation at Bäniyala was part of the initial push back to the homelands from the intolerable intrusion of large scale mining that had surrounded Yirrkala community (formally mission) from the early seventies.

There are hugely significant stories out of this country for the Yirritja, (some of which are shared with the Dhalwaŋu and Maŋgalili clans) that deal with law and ritual. The sacred design of the waters shared by these clans is shared also. Other stories, perhaps no less significant deal with creation or more recently fabled events.

Depicted in this work is the Gurrtjpi (cowtail ray) that is the stingray hunted much on the shallow shores of Blue Mud Bay. It is also a totem for the Maḏarrpa at Bäniyala as they talk of Gurrtjpi having a path of creation at Bäniyala. A few hundred yards down the beach at Bäniyala, a small tidal creek cuts through the dunes to the flat country immediately behind. This small creek named Mäwaŋga was used by Gurritjpi to track back into the bush. Here he bit into the ground forming several small billabongs, a source of water for Yolŋu living there. His path continued along the direction that is now the Bäniyala airstrip to flat sandy country before heading out to the point Lulumu to become a white rock surrounded by the slow tides.

During the days of Woŋgu the Djapu warrior, an area in the shape of the stingray was cleared by him and others who came to country to hunt Gurrtjpi mid-way through the dry season. The area is still clear today, his two eyes holes in the ground where the current inhabitants pick sand to throw in the direction of the rock at Lulumu for good luck and plentiful fishing.

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

 

Sister of Djambawa Marawili and wife to Wanyubi Marika whom she assists with his painting. 2008 has her coming out as a talented painter in her own right, with Bark and Larrakitj depicting Yilpara stingray sites and Madarrpa themes. Her first exhibition
was in 2009 when she had a small but successful show at Annandale Galleries in company with her sister Yalmakany. This was repeated in 2010 with a different body of work. She and Wanyubi divide their time between Yilpara and Yirrkala.

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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