Yirrkala

The Yolngu community of Yirrkala in east Arnhem Land, in the North Territory, is one of the great centres of Australian aboriginal culture. It has during the past seventy years played a decisive part in the evolution both of aboriginal art and aboriginal political awareness.

 

During the 1950s it developed a bark-painting tradition, setting down traditional motifs in natural ochres on flattened bark panels. The work was an assertion of aboriginal lore and pride. In 1963 the community dispatched a 'bark petition' to the national government asserting their claims to their own land, in the face of incursion by mining companies. It marked an important moment in the aboriginal Land Rights movement, and an early instance of the way in which art expresses and projects aboriginal identity.

 

The art movement has prospered at Yirrkala. The richly-worked and formally meticulous bark-painting tradition has been supplemented by other art practices, including print-making, painting, weaving and carving.  The enduring strength and continuity of Yolngu culture has found expression in the work of many significant artists, including Banduk Marika, Nyapanyapa Yunupingu and Naminapu Maymuru.

  • Yirrkala Artworks

    • Banapana, Birds and Totem, c. 1960
      Banapana, Birds and Totem, c. 1960
    • Djalu Gurruwiwi, Bawan, 1997
      Djalu Gurruwiwi, Bawan, 1997
    • Bakulangay Marawili, Untitled
      Bakulangay Marawili, Untitled
    • Djambawa Marawili, Fish, n.d.
      Djambawa Marawili, Fish, n.d.
    • Djambawa Marawili, Man and Crocodile, 1996
      Djambawa Marawili, Man and Crocodile, 1996
    • Banduk Marika, Minyapa Ga Dhanggatjiya, 1995
      Banduk Marika, Minyapa Ga Dhanggatjiya, 1995
    • Banduk Marika, Minyapa Ga Dhanggatjiya, 1995
      Banduk Marika, Minyapa Ga Dhanggatjiya, 1995
    • Dhuwarrwarr Marika, Wawilak, 1996
      Dhuwarrwarr Marika, Wawilak, 1996
    • Naminapu Maymuru, Marrnguga Wulunggultji - Climbing the Bark, 1998
      Naminapu Maymuru, Marrnguga Wulunggultji - Climbing the Bark, 1998
    • Rrawun Maymuru, Yingapungapu, 1998
      Rrawun Maymuru, Yingapungapu, 1998
    • Marrnyula Mununggurr, Gannal Ga Djarrwit, 1996
      Marrnyula Mununggurr, Gannal Ga Djarrwit, 1996
    • Marrnyula Mununggurr, Dhanggi, 1996
      Marrnyula Mununggurr, Dhanggi, 1996
    • Tunbiala, Snakes at Trial Bay, 1965
      Tunbiala, Snakes at Trial Bay, 1965
    • Mithili Wanambi, Trial River, n.d.
      Mithili Wanambi, Trial River, n.d.
    • Nancy Gaymala Yunipingu, Guluwukbuk, 1996
      Nancy Gaymala Yunipingu, Guluwukbuk, 1996
    • Nancy Gaymala Yunipingu, Bara Ga Guya, 1997
      Nancy Gaymala Yunipingu, Bara Ga Guya, 1997
    • Nancy Gaymala Yunipingu, Quail Dreaming, n.d.
      Nancy Gaymala Yunipingu, Quail Dreaming, n.d.
    • Deturru Yunupingu, Lamamirri - Yumbulul, 1996
      Deturru Yunupingu, Lamamirri - Yumbulul, 1996
    • Gayili Yunupingu, Bilthu Ga Ganytjurr, 1997
      Gayili Yunupingu, Bilthu Ga Ganytjurr, 1997
    • Nyapanyapa Yunupingu, Untitled, 1999
      Nyapanyapa Yunupingu, Untitled, 1999
    • Yirrinyina Yunupingu, Dhanggi, 1997
      Yirrinyina Yunupingu, Dhanggi, 1997