Whale Bones and a Sacred Site
YARRINYA is the Munyuku saltwater estate within Blue Mud Bay, sacred country to Barayuwa Mununggurr, who paints his mother’s clan designs associated with the ancestral events of the whale called Mirinyunju.
The story of the whale’s demise and its kinship with the hunters, is the basis for this sacred site and clan design: the bones of the carcass are imbued with cultural and ceremonial significance to Munyuku people.
Barayuwa Mununggurr has been steadily and consistently producing his own work since 2007. In 2013 he started to hide elements of a whale skeleton in his paintings. In recent years his work has been claiming significant attention: as a highly commended finalist in the 2013 NATSIA Award, acquisition and commission by state and territory museums, and an invitation to exhibit in the MCA’s annual Primavera show last year.
The size of some of the barks in this exhibition are extraordinary and the fine application under Barayuwa’s skillful hand is also exquisite. His execution of the Munyuku clan design is a beautiful testament to a bark painting renaissance.