An image of Yarrinya

Barayuwa Mununggurr

(Australia 20 Sep 1980 – )

Wandawuy, Arnhem region
Language group
Djapu, Arnhem region


Not on display
Further information

Barayuwa Mununggurr has been painting since 2007 while also working as an arts worker at Buku-Larrnggay Mulka, Yirrkala. Over time he has developed a very skilled hand and he is now coming to prominence, painting both his own Djapu clan designs as well as his mother’s Munyuku clan designs. His experimental depiction of the whalebones at Yarrinya are entirely his own, a growing trend in many of the younger generation of painters now working for Buku-Larrnggay Mulka.

'Yarrinya' 2018 refers to the Munyuku saltwater estate within Blue Mud Bay, which is Mununggurr’s mother’s country. Significantly it was at Blue Mud Bay that Yolngu people gained Sea Rights over their waters. Mununggurr paints the clan designs associated with the whale called Mirinyunju.

The whale bones painted in 'Yarrinya' 2018 recall events that unravelled on the Yarrinya Ocean in which Munyuku men (Wurramala or Matjitji) hunt their own brother, a whale called Mirinyungu. After the dead whale washes up onto the beach, the men used stone knives (garapana) to cut its body into strips and then fling the knife into the ocean, where it becomes a sharp reef. The remains of the whale and the ocean rocks are combined in a spiritual manner which is extremely significant to Munyuku people, and elements from this scene, such as the whale’s tail, its bones and even the lines from the surface of the water, are incorporated as motifs that are employed in ceremony and in this artwork.

Place of origin
Yirrkala, North-east Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia
Sculpture, Woodwork
natural pigments on wood
197.0 x 14.0 cm
Purchased with funds provided by the Aboriginal Collection Benefactors’ Group 2018
Accession number
© Barayuwa Mununggurr courtesy Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Art Centre, Yirrkala