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Bark Ladies is an exhibition that celebrates the NGV’s extraordinary collection of work by Yolngu women artists from the Buku Larrngay Mulka Centre (Buku), in Northeast Arnhem Land. Buku is the Indigenous community run art centre located in Yirrkala, a small Aboriginal community, approximately 700 km east of Darwin. Work by women from the Yirrkala region has been developing an appreciative audience, both nationally and internationally.
According to Buku, under Yolngu Law the ‘Land’ extends to include sea, and both land and sea are connected in a single cycle of life for which the Yolngu hold their songs, scared designs and art. Yolngu women at Buku are known for channelling this unique world view into daring and innovative works of art that demonstrate their mastery over the unique medium of bark.
For more than two decades the NGV has been acquiring important works on bark by women artists from Buku, who before 2000 seldom painted on bark or made larrakitj (painted hollow poles). Bark Ladies is an important exhibition that brings together great singular master artists sharing their important stories with a Melbourne audience.
The exhibition highlights significant bodies of work by Nonggirrnga Marawili, Nyapanyapa Yunupingu, Gulumbu Yununpingu, Barrupu Yunupingu, Dhambit Munuŋgurr, Marrnyula Munuŋgurr, Mulkun Wirrpanda, Naminapu Maymuru-White and more.