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Title

Banumbirr (morning star)

collected 1948


Artist

Binyinyuwuy Djarrankuykuy

Australia

1928 - 1982

Language group

Djambarrpuyungu, Arnhem region


About

Binyinyuwuy was only a young man at the time of painting this work and it is perhaps the earliest work by him to have been collected and attributed. It was made as part of the American and Australian Scientific Expedition to Arnhem Land led by Charles Mountford, which resulted in a collection of several hundred Aboriginal objects and artworks.

Central within Banumbirr (morning star) is the morning star pole. Each evening the morning star leaves its bathi (basket) to travel across the country on a feathered string, passing over Dhuwa estates such as Djarraya (Napier Peninsula), which is Binyinyuwuy’s home country, and guiding the souls of those recently departed to the island of Burralku. By morning, the star is returned to the bathi until the following evening, when it will repeat the journey. As explained by Djambarrpungu-man Keith Lapulung Dhamarrandji, Burralku is akin to heaven, a ‘promised spiritual country, the next stage of life after death. Life repeats then moves on to the next cycle’.


Details


Other Title

Aboriginal heaven


Alternative title

Dhuwa journey of the dead - Aboriginal heaven


Date

collected 1948


Media category

Painting


Materials used

natural pigments on paper


Dimensions

58.0 x 45.5 cm image/sheet; 76.0 x 63.5 x 3.0 cm frame


Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.


Credit

Gift of the Commonwealth Government 1956


Location

Not on display


Accession number

9283


Artist information

Binyinyuwuy Djarrankuykuy

Artist profile

Works in the collection

15


Place

Where the work was made
Milingimbi

Shown in 2 exhibitions

Exhibition history


Referenced in 4 publications

Bibliography


Jonathan Jones, Mountford Gifts: Works from the American-Australian scientific expedition to Arnhem Land 1948, 'Mountford Gifts: Works from the American-Australian scientific expedition to Arnhem Land 1948', pg. 1-5, Sydney, 2009, 3, 4.

Edmund Capon, Unknown, Tony Tuckson, Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, Christopher Hodges, Helen Eager, Unknown, Unknown, Daphne Wallace and Unknown, Gamarada, Sydney, 1996, 6 (colour illus.).

National Art Gallery of New South Wales, Purchases and Acquisitions for 1956 National Art Gallery of N.S.W., Sydney, 1956, 23. cat.no. 64; titled 'Aboriginal heaven'

Unknown (Editor), Records of the American-Australian scientific expedition to Arnhem Land 1: Art, myth and symbolism, Melbourne, 1956, 328, (illus.). plate no. 101 'A'