Rerrkirrwaŋa Munuŋgurr

(Australia 1971 – )

Yirrkala, Arnhem region
Language group
Djapu, Arnhem region


Not on display
Further information

Rerrkirrwaŋa Munuŋgurr has painted her husband’s miny’tji (sacred design) for the Gumatj clan. This design relates to a fire called Gurtha and is pictorially represented as trails of diamond. The diamond design, represents the various states of fire; the red flames, the white smoke and ash, the black charcoal and the yellow dust.

The art centre documentation for this work summerises the significance of the design for Gumatj people poetically:

‘The significance of fire to the Yunupiŋu family of the Gumatj clan is paramount. It is said that the Gumatj clan language, Dhuwalandja, is itself the tongue of flame. This language, or tongue, like the flame, cuts through all artifice. It incinerates dishonesty leaving only the bones of the truth.’

In contrast to the expressive brushwork employed by many female artists working at Yirrkala today, Munuŋgurr employs a super fine handmade marwat or hairbrush to complete this delicate design. Her marwat is finer than anyone else’s and she has consciously created the most inticate rendition of miny’tji possible.

Place of origin
Yirrkala, North-east Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia
Bark painting
ochre on stringybark
57.0 x 51.0 cm
Mollie Gowing Acquisition fund for Contemporary Aboriginal art 2020
Accession number
© Rerrkirrwaŋa Munuŋgurr