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Title

Gurtha

2019

Artist

Rerrkirrwaŋa Munuŋgurr

Australia

1971 –

Language group: Djapu, Arnhem region

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  • Details

    Place where the work was made
    Yirrkala North-east Arnhem Land Northern Territory Australia
    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
    Copyright
    © Rerrkirrwaŋa Munuŋgurr
    Artist information
    Rerrkirrwaŋa Munuŋgurr

    Works in the collection

    1

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  • 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.

  • Places

    Where the work was made

    Yirrkala