Yolŋu artist Dhambit Munuŋgurr’s immersive work in NGV Triennial is made up of fifteen bark paintings and nine larrakitj (hollow poles). The installation, titled Can we all have a happy life?, was created at Buku- Larrŋgay Mulka Centre, a Yolŋu-owned art centre located in the small Aboriginal community of Yirrkala in Northeast Arnhem Land.
In a relaxed conversation with NGV Curator Myles Russell-Cook, Munuŋgurr reflects on her installation in NGV Triennial, her use of acrylic paints and how blue has become the dominant palette for her works.
Dhambit Munuŋgurr is an artist and the daughter of two winners of the First Prize in the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award: Mutitjpuy Munuŋgurr and Gulumbu Yunupiŋu. Following a car accident in 2005, which left her with life threatening injuries, Munuŋgurr has become prolific with her art making. For many years, she worked as an independent artist constantly painting and selling, or giving away, her work. In her works on display in NGV Triennial, Munuŋgurr used acrylics in ochre colours to overcome her inability to grind the ochres by hand. She fell in love with the colour blue in 2019, which she has now settled on as the dominant palette for her large works.
Myles Russell-Cook is Curator of Indigenous Art at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV). Myles’s passion is for First Nations contemporary art. He has published extensively on art, design and fashion, and curated a number of exhibitions at the NGV. Myles derives much personal and professional influence and inspiration from his maternal Aboriginal heritage in Western Victoria with connections into Tasmania and the Bass Strait Islands.
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