Important Australian Indigenous Art
22 March 2023


(c.1945 - 2021)

natural earth pigments on eucalyptus bark

114.0 x 62.0 cm (irregular)

bears inscription verso: artist’s name and Buku–Larrŋgay Mulka cat. 3410P and 0308YIR
bears inscription on Buku–Larrŋgay Mulka label verso: artist’s name, title, date, medium and size

$6,000 – $8,000
Sold for $28,227 (inc. BP) in Auction 73 - 22 March 2023, Melbourne

Buku–Larrŋgay Mulka Centre, Yirrkala, Northern Territory 
Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney (label attached verso)
The Laverty Collection, Sydney, acquired from the above in October 2008


Nyapanyapa Yunupiŋu: Once Upon a Time, Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney, 18 September – 11 October 2008
The Moment Eternal: Nyapanyapa Yunupiŋu, Museum and Art Gallery of Northern Territory, Darwin, 25 April – 25 October 2020


Scholes, L., et. al., The Moment Eternal: Nyapanyapa Yunupiŋ, Museum and Art Gallery of Northern Territory, Darwin, 2020, pp. 11 (illus.), 147

Catalogue text

This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from Buku–Larrŋgay Mulka Centre which states in part:

‘But once prompted to treat the story of her almost fatal goring by a Buffalo in the seventies Nyapanyapa threw these conventions over and unleashed a unique set of personal narrative paintings revolving around her own experiences. This subjective, individualistic and linear narrative construction was totally out of step with all previous Yolngu art. The first of these was so surprising it was entered in the 2008 Telstra NATSIAA Award. To bolster the chances of preselection an explanatory video was produced by the newly founded digital archive and studio attached to Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Centre, The Mulka Project. As it happened the video was completed after the bark had been accepted but the entry was varied to include the bark and video as a 3D installation. Another first!

In the midst of this evolving story a visit from Roslyn Oxley planted the seed of a potential Nyapanyapa exhibition and throughout the first half of 2008 Nyapanyapa often accompanied by her sister Barrupu painted a succession of almost twenty narrative barks in the courtyard of Buku–Larrŋgay Mulka Centre. Her labours so regular they were only interrupted by ceremony.

This bark shows the incident in repetitive form. During her travel to Darwin to collect her Award after this work was completed, she was awoken by a dream of the Buffalo’s red eyes staring at her. This work has a dreamlike quality, and the series was nicknamed ‘Wendy in Wonderland’ by irreverent art centre staff. The video outlining the story of this incident is included on the DVD “Nhama” released at Garma 2008.’