- Medium: earth pigments on Stringybark
- Size: 127 x 39 cm
- Catalogue #3384-18
- Created: 2018
This bark depicts a deep story of the Rirratjiŋu clan referring to the foundational identity of land related to ancestral being Miliditjpi.
The artist Dhuwarrwarr is a senior member and has a famous history in leading the struggle against dispossession and assimilation. Her own role as one of the first women to paint sacred designs embodying the essence of the Rirratjiŋu clan is to be understood in the context of her own father Mawalan Marika’s leadership in negotiating first contact with Methodist missionaries in the mid 1930’s.
In this painting, Dhuwarrwarr depicts the scene of Rirratjiŋu ancestral hero Miliditjpi (also known as Bunuwal) being speared by Bukulatjpi, member of the Warramirri clan of the Yirritja moiety, which is followed by his funeral, Bäpurru. (Full information on artwork certificate.)
- Born: c.1945
- Language group: Yolŋu
- Moiety: Dhuwa
- Clan: Rirratjiŋu, Miliwurrwurr group
- Homelands: Yirrkala, Yalaŋbara, Gulurunga, Bremer Island
Dhuwarrwarr’s father, Mawalan, was the ceremonial leader of the Rirratjiŋu tribe and was steeped
in the mythology of his people. He painted up to the time of his death, and with failing eyesight and poor health, allowed Dhuwarrwarr to help him, after consultation with his sons and brothers and elders of the group. She has not painted since his death until recently, when she again requested permission from her brothers to do so.
Born in 1945 Dhuwarrwarr is sister of Wandjuk, Bayŋgul and Banduk Marika, and daughter of Mawalan, the Rirratjiŋu clan leader who originally welcomed the missionaries to set up on his land, creating the beginnings of modern day Yirrkala.
Dhuwarrwarr is a statesperson for her people, representing them on various committees and institutions such as Land Councils and Women’s groups. In 1993 she travelled to Europe as an invited speaking guest for the opening of the international traveling exhibition of ‘Aratjara – Art of the First Australians’.
She also attends to the day-to-day needs of a wide group of young and old clans-people with a particular emphasis on guiding and guarding the young minds of her family. She lives on Rirratjiŋu land either at her house overlooking the beach and creek at Yirrkala or at Gutjangan on Bremer Island.
Her first genuine solo exhibition held relatively late in her career, ‘Milngurr’ at Vivien Anderson Gallery in Melbourne in 2008 was a literal sell out within 5 minutes of opening. Institutional Collections purchased the bulk of the works. She has continued to exhibit commercially and to be shown in institutional shows to this day. Her second solo exhibition was at Songlines in Darwin in 2021.
Provenance: this artwork was sourced from Buku Larrnggay Mulka, Yirrkala in NE Arnhem Land