Buyku (1138-21) by Djirrirra Wunuŋmurra Yukuwa - 2021 | Michael Reid Gallery

Djirrirra Wunuŋmurra Yukuwa
Buyku (1138-21), 2021

earth pigments on stringybark
79 x 50 cm

catalogue number: 1138-21

Late 2006 saw the first incised bark painting come into Buku-Larrnggay, by Guynbi. Djirrirra is a close neighbour of his at the small homeland of Gangan. In early 2011 she began to bring in works of such intense fine detail which marked a clear departure from her earlier works. One of these works went to the Telstra Award and was acquired by the Queensland Art Gallery.

Artworks of this nature have multiple layers of metaphor and meaning which give lessons about the connections between an individual and specific pieces of country (both land and sea), as well as the connections between various clans but also explaining the forces that act upon and within the environment and the mechanics of a spirit’s path through existence. The knowledge referred to by this imagery deepens in complexity and secrecy as a person progresses through a life long learning process.

One of the metaphorical overviews of the work is the union between the different subgroups of the Dhalwangu clan in the ancestral cycle of regular fishtrap ceremonies they join together in celebrating. The last one of these was five years ago. These gatherings are ceremonial but also social and educational.

The sacred diamond design generally refers to the waters around Gangan but here are encased in a strong grid of vertical and horizontal lines which show the structure of the fishtrap made during Mirrawarr (early Dry Season) with Rangan (paperbark) and wooden stakes. This is the Buyku or fishtrap area which is ‘company’ land (ie. shared by all the people who live by/sing the river). The Dhalwangu and allied groups who participate in this song cycle and fishing activity are hunting Baypinga (Saratoga) as does the Gany’tjurr (Reef Heron) which they identify with as the archetypal Yirritja hunter.


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