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Contemporary art

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art

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Title

Gurtha

2019


Artist

Rerrkirrwaŋa Munuŋgurr

Australia

1971 -

Language group

Djapu, Arnhem region


About

Rerrkirrwaŋa Munuŋgurr has painted her husband’s miny’tji (sacred design) for the Gumatj clan. This design relates to a fire called Gurtha and is pictorially represented as trails of diamond. The diamond design, represents the various states of fire; the red flames, the white smoke and ash, the black charcoal and the yellow dust.

The art centre documentation for this work summerises the significance of the design for Gumatj people poetically:

‘The significance of fire to the Yunupiŋu family of the Gumatj clan is paramount. It is said that the Gumatj clan language, Dhuwalandja, is itself the tongue of flame. This language, or tongue, like the flame, cuts through all artifice. It incinerates dishonesty leaving only the bones of the truth.’

In contrast to the expressive brushwork employed by many female artists working at Yirrkala today, Munuŋgurr employs a super fine handmade marwat or hairbrush to complete this delicate design. Her marwat is finer than anyone else’s and she has consciously created the most inticate rendition of miny’tji possible.


Details


Date

2019


Media category

Bark painting


Materials used

ochre on stringybark


Dimensions

57.0 x 51.0 cm


Credit

Mollie Gowing Acquisition fund for Contemporary Aboriginal art 2020


Location

Not on display


Accession number

80.2020


Artist information

Rerrkirrwaŋa Munuŋgurr

Works in the collection

1


Place

Where the work was made
Yirrkala