Bark Ladies: Eleven artists from Yirrkala celebrates the work of eleven innovative Yolŋu women artists. Yirrkala is an Aboriginal community in North-East Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory of Australia. Yolŋu means ‘person’ in Yolŋu Matha (the language of Yolŋu people).
The artists in this exhibition have all made work out of an Aboriginal Community art centre called the Buku-Larrngay Mulka Centre (Buku). Buku is an important hub and meeting place for the Yirrkala community and artists. Buku-Larrngay Mulka is a Yolŋu Matha phrase; Buku-Larrŋgay translates to mean ‘the feeling on your face as it is struck by the first rays of the sun’, and Mulka means ‘a sacred but public ceremony’.
The exhibition features artworks from the NGV collection including both bark paintings and sculptural memorial poles, known as larrakitj. Each of the artists have created works that expand on and challenge traditional styles of art-making:
- Nancy Gaymala, Gulumbu, Barrupu, Ms N. Yunupiŋu and Eunice Djerrnkngu Yunupiŋu, are five Yunupiŋu sisters who create bold and rhythmic works which tell Yolŋu stories of the universe, fire and creation as well as personal stories.
- Dhuwarrwarr Marika is regarded as the first Yolŋu woman to paint on bark in her own right.
- Dhambit Munungurr and Nonggirrnga Marawili both use new materials to create striking works in unexpected colour pigments.
- Naminapu Maymuru-White has designed a large floor-based work called Ringimi gapu, 2021,1 which extends across Federation Court. She also has six larrakitj and two paintings included in the exhibition.
- What types of artworks do you expect to see in an exhibition called Bark Ladies: Eleven artists from Yirrkala?
- What is the meaning of ‘bold’ and ‘rhythmic’? What other words can you find that describe the artworks in this exhibition?
- Why do you think these artists have been selected to have their work displayed together?
- To learn more about the Buku centre and Yirrkala, you can visit the Buku centre website https://yirrkala.com/