LANGUAGE GROUP: Yolngu
COMMUNITY: Gangan, NT
Bulthirrirri is an emerging artist from east Arnhem Land in the Far north of Australia. Her moiety is Yirritja. She is from the Dhalwangu clan and her homeland is Gangan. The Gangan community is situated in a remote inland river about 200kms from Yirrkala, Northern Territory.
Her grandfather was Yanggarriny, a great Dhalwangu clan leader and artist who was a painter of the Yirrkala Church Panels, and winner of the best bark prize in the Telstra NATSIA award in 1997. Her father by Yolngu law is the great painter and sculptor Nawurapu Wunungmurra (recently deceased).
Balthirrirri has assisted other artists at Gangan, the ancestral land of the Dhalwangu people, and in 2007 she began making artworks of her own. In 2008-2009 she was elected to the management committee of the Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Art Centre.
Bulthirrirri is maintaining her families' rich artistic heritage through her own hand. Following the passing of Nawurapu, she has assumed responsibility for the creation of art in his themes.
Bulthirrirri creates larrakitj memorial poles, a unique art form from Arnhem Land that has captivated the world. Ancient designs and stories are applied to hollow stringybark logs and feature highly patterned designs called miny'tji.
In some of her larrakitj, she applies the sacred diamond design for the Dhalwangu clan, which reflects the patterning of water streaming from the body of the Ancestral Creator Being, Barama, as he emerged from the water at Gangan.
In other instances, she uses a zig-zagged triangle design which is the Gurrumuru homeland miny'tji. It incorporates mythology stemming from dance and song, and tales of the Maccasan coming to these areas up until the beginning of this century.
Bulthirri's fine cross hatching technique, known as 'rarrk', gives her works a captivating presence. They can stand alone as exquisite works of art or could be displayed in groups and sequences.
Copyright Kate Owen Gallery May 2022