"This Law we hold, it is hard to hold all this Law. You must not forget it, and also you must stay focused and steady—that is what this Law is all about. I am talking about the gurruṯu kinship system: all these relations, uncles or grandchildren. For this is the Law."
– BALUKA MAYMURU
One of the many freshwater systems that empty into the Blue Mud Bay is the Wayawu River, in Maŋgalili country. It is up this river that the ancestral kingfish Ŋoykal swim up to breed. They swim as far up the river as the sacred stone raŋga (at the bottom-center of the work). Smaller freshwater fish called Bilthu are pictured as they are associated with the raŋga. The black and yellow crimped designs are sacred to the Maŋgalili and are associated with the freshwater of this site. The corms of the water lily represent the yothu (children) of the Maŋgalili clan.
– Buku-Larrŋgay Mulka Centre
Natural pigments on eucalyptus bark
78 1/4 x 32 7/8
199 x 83.5
Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of the University of Virginia.
Gift of John W. Kluge, 1997. 1996.0035.003
About The Artist(s)
Baluka Maymuru is the son of Nänyin’ Maymuru. A respected elder and ceremonial leader, Baluka is the head of the Maŋgalili clan. From 2000-2003 he was the chairman of Buku-Larrŋgay Mulka. He is one of the few artists to have produced works for the 1996 John W. Kluge commission as well as the 2017-19 Kluge-Ruhe Madayin commission. He is the two time winner of the Wandjuk Marika 3D Memorial Award at the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards in 1987 and 2006.
Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
Berndt Museum of Anthropology at the University of Western Australia
Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of the University of Virginia
Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory
National Museum of Australia