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Located 700km east of Darwin in Yirrkala, a small Aboriginal community in North Eastern Arnhem Land, Buku-Larrŋgay Mulka Centre is a First Nations owned and run hub of creativity. Prints & Poles is a showcase of this creativity, featuring an array of larrakitj and works on paper including a selection of etchings, which highlight the culturally rich and diverse practice of Yolŋu artists.
Buku-Larrŋgay – “the feeling on your face as it is struck by the first rays of the sun”
Mulka – “a sacred but public ceremony”
This work represents Garrimala, a billabong near the artist’s residence, the Dhaḻwaŋu clan homeland at Gäṉgaṉ. It is a sacred site for the artists’ mother’s Gälpu clan. But this imagery really refers to perhaps the oldest continuous human religious iconographical practice- the story of the Rainbow Serpent. Estimates vary from 40,000-6,000 years on the depictions of the Rainbow Serpent in West Arnhem rock shelters.
The Larrakitj had its traditional use for the Yolŋu people as an ossuary or bone container erected as a memorial to a dead kinsman up to a decade after death. A further role for this cultural form is as a fine art object and an instructional tool for younger generations. Artworks of this nature have multiple layers of metaphor and meaning which give lessons about the connections between an individual and specific pieces of country (both land and sea), as well as the connections between various clans but also explaining the forces that act upon and within the environment and the mechanics of a spirit’s path through existence.
Artist: Malaluba Gumana (dec)
Medium: Earth pigments on Stringybark hollow pole (Larrakitj)
Dimensions (cm): 211cm H x 14cm
Catalogue Number: 2766-19
Store Pick Up: Not available
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