" Blue is the color of gapu, of water. The earth is blue, the sky is blue and the sea is blue."
– DHAMBIT MUNUŊGURR
This is the first major bark painted using blue pigment. While the artists of Buku-Larrŋgay are generally restricted to using natural materials by edict of the elders, Dhambit Munuŋgurr has been allowed special accommodations following an accident that severely impacted her mobility.
In the center of the painting is the sacred rock Dhambit, after which the artist is named, standing strong against the ocean. Above it, ancestral Bapayili from Saibai Island and sailors from the port of Makassar in Sulawesi arrive by boat, and are met by Yolŋu of both Dhuwa and Yirritja clans.
The presence of three giant ŋarrpiya (octopus) indicates that these are the waters of the Warramiri clan. Ŋarrpiya’s ability to change colour reflects the Ocean's volatility.
In the center right, three brolga (Australian Cranes) paddle a canoe, representing the artist’s grandfather Woŋgu Munuŋgurr and her Djapu’ kin. At the base of the painting, Dhambit shows her French husband Tony, accompanied by nyapanyapa (ox-eye herring), fish associated with the artist's mother's Gumatj clan.
– Buku-Larrŋgay Mulka Centre
Natural pigments on eucalyptus bark
78 11/32 x 42 17/32
199 x 108
Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of the University of Virginia. The 2017-19 Kluge-Ruhe Maḏayin Commission. Purchased with funds provided by Roslyn and Tony Oxley. 2020.0007.001
About The Artist(s)
Dhambit Munuŋgurr is the daughter of the artists Mutitjpuy Munuŋgurr and Gulumbu Yunupiŋu. In 2020, she was featured in the National Gallery of Victoria Triennial, and in 2021, she received the bark painting prize at the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards.