Important Australian Indigenous Art
22 March 2023


born 1973

natural earth pigments on eucalyptus bark with bark felt

143.0 x 71.5 cm (irregular)

bears inscription verso: artist’s name, date and Buku–Larrŋgay Mulka cat. 4047R
bears inscription on certificate attached verso: artist's name, title, medium, size and Buku–Larrŋgay Mulka cat. 4047R

$8,000 – $12,000
Sold for $24,545 (inc. BP) in Auction 73 - 22 March 2023, Melbourne

Buku–Larrŋgay Mulka Centre, Yirrkala, Northern Territory (label attached verso)
Annandale Galleries, Sydney (label attached verso)
Private collection, Sydney, acquired from the above in May 2012


GUNYBI GANAMBARR: From My Mind, Annandale Galleries, Sydney, 2 May - 16 June 2012

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

‘This bark identifies the reservoirs of the Ŋaymil/Datiwuy clan. Nalkan is an area on Ŋaymil land and sea between the Gurrumuru and Cato Rivers that run into the Arnhem Bay. Within this area is another watercourse that leads up into a sacred area of a freshwater spring or Milŋurr with special qualities called Balawurru. Gudurrku or Brolga dance here. Djanda the sacred goanna swim in the lagoon created by the spring, their actions as they swim causing patterns to be made on the surface that is covered by the totemic water weed Darra.

Others inhabit these waters, Warrukay or Murrukula the Barracuda, the power totem for the Ŋaymil. It spends most of its time in the salt waters. At certain times Warrukay will make its way up to Balawurru bringing the ‘contamination’ of muddied water with it. This has connotations of fertility. It is a place of fertility. Souls of Ŋaymil are both delivered to and from this point between works real and spiritual. As the sacred songs used in mortuary are cyclic, narrating the Ancestral Events of the original Creator Beings, so is the journey of the Yolŋu soul. This place is also shared with the Dhudi–Djapu clan.

Warrukay is often depicted with its teeth bared as a warning to those trespassing Ŋalkan. For those doing so have to confront the ire of the Barracuda. A built in safeguard for the protection of Rom, Yolŋu law.’