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Barayuwa Munuŋgurr


20 Sep 1980 –

Language group: Djapu, Arnhem region

Alternate image of Yarrinya by Barayuwa Munuŋgurr
Alternate image of Yarrinya by Barayuwa Munuŋgurr
Alternate image of Yarrinya by Barayuwa Munuŋgurr
Alternate image of Yarrinya by Barayuwa Munuŋgurr
  • Details

    Cultural origin
    Djapu/Arnhem region
    Media category
    Materials used
    natural pigments on board
    122.0 x 122.0 cm
    Wendy Barron Bequest Fund 2015
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © Barayuwa Mununggurr courtesy Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Art Centre, Yirrkala

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Barayuwa Munuŋgurr

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Barayuwa Munuŋgurr has been painting since 2007 while also working as an arts worker at Buku-Larrŋgay Mulka, Yirrkala. Over time he has developed a very skilled hand and he is now coming to prominence painting both his own Djapu clan designs as well as his mother’s Munyuku clan designs. His experimental depiction of the whalebones at Yarrinya are entirely his own, a growing trend in many of the younger generation of painters now working for Buku-Larrŋgay Mulka.

    'Yarrinya' 2015 refers to the Munyuku saltwater estate within Blue Mud Bay, which is Munuŋurr’s mother’s country. Significantly it was at Blue Mud Bay that Yolŋu people gained Sea Rights over thier waters. Munuŋgurr paints the clan designs associated with the whale called Mirinyunju.

    The whale bones painted in 'Yarrinya' 2015 recall events that unravelled on the Yarrinya Ocean in which Munyuku men (Wurramala or Matjitji) hunt their own brother, a whale called Mirinyuŋu. After the dead whale washes up onto the beach, the men used stone knives (garapana) to cut its body into strips and then fling the knife into the ocean, where it becomes a sharp reef. The remains of the whale and the ocean rocks are combined in a spiritual manner which is extremely significant to Munyuku people, and elements from this scene, such as the whale’s tail, its bones and even the lines from the surface of the water, are incorporated as motifs that are employed in ceremony.

    The story of the whale’s demise and its kinship with the hunters, is the basis for this important site and clan design: the bones from the skeleton are imbued with cultural and ceremonial significance to Munyuku people.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition

    • Sentient lands, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 04 Jun 2016–08 Oct 2017

Other works by Barayuwa Munuŋgurr