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Gurrundul #1 Marawili Deborah, Yingapungapu, 91x53cm Bark
  • Gurrundul #1 Marawili Deborah, Yingapungapu, 91x53cm Bark
  • Gurrundul #1 Marawili Deborah, Yingapungapu, 91x53cm Bark
  • Gurrundul #1 Marawili Deborah, Yingapungapu, 91x53cm Bark
  • Gurrundul #1 Marawili Deborah, Yingapungapu, 91x53cm Bark
Gurrundul #1 Marawili Deborah, Yingapungapu, 91x53cm Bark
Gurrundul #1 Marawili Deborah, Yingapungapu, 91x53cm Bark
Gurrundul #1 Marawili Deborah, Yingapungapu, 91x53cm Bark
Gurrundul #1 Marawili Deborah, Yingapungapu, 91x53cm Bark

Gurrundul #1 Marawili Deborah, Yingapungapu, 91x53cm Bark

$1,369.00
  • Aboriginal Artist - Gurrundul #1 Marawili Deborah
  • Community - Yirkala
  • Homeland - Yilpara
  • Aboriginal Art Centre - Buku-Larrŋgay Mulka Centre
  • Catalogue number - 1683-18
  • Materials - Earth pigments on Stringybark
  • Size(cm) - H91 W53 D0.6  (irregular)
  • Postage variants - Artwork posted flat and ready to hang with a metal mount on the reverse
  • Orientation - As displayed

Madarrpa clan hunters Yikuwaŋa and Nurruguyamirri left the shores of Yathikpa in Yalwarr, the canoe constructed of paperbark, native beeswax, bush timbers, and string. Their destination was Woodah Island, to see a brother in law. They were to collect from him hunting paraphernalia for fishing, principally fishing hooks of carved hardwood attached to bush string lines. large shells for bailing unwanted water coming into the canoe and turtle shell for impending barter. Successful in this they paddled off from Woodah Island in search of good fishing grounds. Once offshore on seeing Dugong they pursued it to harpoon. In this area of saltwater was another sacred site of fire - a submerged rock surrounded by turbulent and dangerous water. It was here at Dhakalmayi that the Dugong took shelter to escape the hunters. The action of the flung harpoon towards the Dugong, hence the rock, enraged the powers that be, causing these dangerous waters to boil from sacred fires from underneath. The canoe capsized, both drowning and burning the Ancestral Hunters with their canoe and hunting paraphernalia. The harpoon, rope, paddles, and canoe are sung at ceremony, and manifestations of these objects are used as restricted secret sacred objects in ceremony today. Djunuŋguyaŋu the dugong are associated with this site, attracted by sandy sea beds that grow the seagrass called Gamaṯa that they graze. The events that occur in Wangarr (Creation time) occur in a tense that does not exist in English. This is a time dimension which is simultaneously the distant creative past/the present/ and the infinite future. In this dimension, any Madarrpa hunting dugong is a manifestation of the land’s identity. The water cycle mirrors that of the spirit and death is thwarted by the transformation from saltwater to ether when vapour is formed into clouds made of life-giving freshwater to be born again once the rain hits the escarpment country behind the coast. The cycle continues. So the harpoon travels, floating between related clan estates in the waters of Blue Mud Bay. Estates are connected spiritually in a multi-directional way - both to and from, a cyclic phenomenon which is chronicled in the sacred songs that narrate these Ancestral actions over land, through the sea and ether. A ceremonial sand sculpture, known as Yingapungapu, used to mother, confine, release the essence and spirit of the Madarrpa people, and realm is made at mortuary. It reflects the shape of the capsized canoe. The inside of the Yingapungapu represents two levels of understanding for its use but revert to the same theme - that of cleansing within the boundaries of the Yingapungapu. Openly food scraps are tossed into this place such as Lalu (parrotfish) which is broken down by maggots. The other side is a deeper ceremonial issue where the deceased is placed within the sculpture to confine the contamination of death to this sacred instrument to initiate mortuary ritual.

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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