Organized by the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection

Baluka Maymuru | Sacred Object in Freshwater

Baluka Maymuru

Sacred Object in Freshwater, 1996

Raŋga Rapiny Gapuŋur





"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."


More Info

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

Additional Information




Natural pigments on eucalyptus bark

Dimensions (IN)

78 1/4 x 32 7/8

Dimensions (CM)

199 x 83.5


Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of the University of Virginia.
Gift of John W. Kluge, 1997. 1996.0035.003



The Maŋgalili clan belongs to the Yirritja moiety. Their major spiritual theme revolves around the...

View All Artworks >



The yiŋapuŋapu is a low relief sand sculpture, elliptical in shape, that is used in...

View All Artworks >



View The Map >



Buku-Larrŋgay Mulka Centre began the 1990s in a phase of rebuilding. By the end of...

Learn About This Decade >

About The Artist(s)



Artist Dates

Born 1947

Alternative Names


Baluka Maymuru

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.

Collections Represented

Art Gallery of Western Australia

Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies

Australian National Maritime Museum

Berndt Museum of Anthropology at the University of Western Australia

Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of the University of Virginia

National Gallery of Australia

Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory

National Gallery of Victoria

National Museum of Australia

Seattle Art Museum