Organized by the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection

Mäw’ Munuŋgurr | Shoreline

Mäw’ Munuŋgurr

Shoreline, before 1966




"My father and my fathers’ fathers from way back had Munyuku mothers, too. Mäw’ Munuŋgurr’s and Muwaŋ Munuŋgurr’s mothers were Munyuku. Who knows how many of my father’s fathers. They had Munyuku mothers from way back. And their words have followed me for a long time, following me into the future, out of the past. And I hold the designs for the Munyuku and also the Lamamirri, my mother’s clans. The two designs for the ocean over there and the point Yarrinya. These two stories are connected; their stories and songs are significant. I am a caretaker for those places. I hold those designs, those paintings, those painted designs: miny’tji, dhulaŋ, gamunuŋgu. That is the Law. "


Additional Information


before 1966


Natural pigments on eucalyptus bark

Dimensions (IN)

45 3/4 x 23 1/4

Dimensions (CM)

116.2 x 59.1


Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of the University of Virginia. Edward L. Ruhe Collection, Gift of John W. Kluge, 1997. 1993.0004.181



The Munyuku clan belongs to the Yirritja moiety. Major spiritual themes relate to marine life...

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The 1960s were a decade of tumult and triumph for Yolŋu art and artists. In...

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About The Artist(s)



Artist Dates


Alternative Names

Mau, Maw

Mäw’ Munuŋgurr

Mäw’ Mununŋur was the son of Woŋgu. He was imprisoned in Fannie Bay Gaol in Darwin following a skirmish at Caledon Bay in 1933 in which the crew of a Japanese pearling boat were killed. During World War II he was a member of Donald Thomson’s Northern Territory Special Reconnaissance Unit, patrolling the shores of Arnhem Land for signs of Japanese invasion. Mäw’ was among the first artists to produce bark paintings for Rev. Wilbur Chaseling at the newly established Yirrkala Mission, and continued painting until his death including works for Ronald and Catherine Berndt in 1946 and 1947, and for Charles Mountford’s American–Australian Scientific Expedition to Arnhem Land in 1948. Beyond his paintings, Mäw’ was renowned as a singer, dancer and ceremonial leader and the 1970s, worked to establish Waṉḏawuy as a permanent homelands for the Djapu’ clan.

Collections Represented

Art Gallery of New South Wales

Bank Art Museum Moree

Berndt Museum of Anthropology, University of Western Australia

Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of the University of Virginia

National Gallery of Victoria