Shoalhaven, NSW: Bundanon has announced its new exhibition season, Miwatj Yolŋu – Sunrise People, opening to the public from 28 October 2023 – 11 February 2024 in the Art Museum with official Opening Weekend activities taking place on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 November 2023.
Miwatj Yolŋu – Sunrise People presents the work of 13 senior and emerging Yolŋu artists from across the Yirrkala Community in East Arnhem Land, exploring interwoven stories of land, water, and sky.
Exhibiting artists include Ms N Marawili, Dhambit Munuŋgurr, Gaypalani Waṉambi, Mulkuṉ Wirrpanda, Muluymuluy Wirrpanda, Djirrirra Wunuŋmurra, Djakaŋu Yunupiŋu, Nyapanyapa Yunupiŋu, Wanapati Yunupiŋu, and artists from The Mulka Project including, Ruby Djikarra Alderton, Ishmael Marika, Patrina Munuŋgurr and Gutiŋarra Yunupingu.
Similar to Bundanon’s location in the Shoalhaven region, Yirrkala is a place where fresh and saltwater meet. This new exhibition explores storytelling, ecology and materiality in the works of Yolŋu artists, and brings to light the centrality of weather patterns and ecological systems within Yolŋu culture.
Miwatj Yolŋu translates to ‘sunrise people’ in Yolŋu Matha (Yolŋu tongue). Geographically, Miwatj refers to the furthest north-eastern part of Arnhem Land that receives the morning sun, as it rises in the east. Yolŋu artists enact cultural traditions through the expression of both sacred and secular narratives. The use of materials from local lands is an important part of this practice, encompassing natural ochres, ṉuwayak (bark painting) and larrikitj (memorial poles).
Some of the artists in this exhibition have pioneered the use of reclaimed materials, such as Gaypalani Wanambi, one of the few younger Yolŋu women working with discarded and scrap metals from nearby bauxite mining sites, as well as senior Yolŋu artist Ms N Marawili’s repurposed dance boards and signature magenta hue salvaged from discarded printer cartridges.
Dhambit Munuŋgurr will present paintings in her iconic vivid palette of cobalt blue capturing secular narratives relating to family, while Djakaŋu Yunupiŋu, daughter of the legendary leader Mungurrawuy Yunupiŋu, will present a recent body of work depicting an interpretation of a sacred story relating to the constellation known as the Seven Sisters.
Artists from The Mulka Project employ audio-visual technology in the documentation of ceremony, cultural history and the creation of new media artworks, including Gutiŋarra Yunupingu who has become one of The Mulka Project’s leading cinematographers.
Miwatj Yolŋu – Sunrise People brings together works from the Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Centre, the Mulka Project digital archive, and public and private collections from across Australia.
Rachel Kent, CEO said: “We are delighted to exhibit these significant works by Yolŋu artists from the Yirrkala Community. For Bundanon, this upcoming exhibition season fosters new relationships with outstanding artists and organisations from across the country. The works in Miwatj Yolŋu highlight Bundanon’s ongoing commitment to promote creativity, research and connections to living culture.”
Bundanon will welcome members from the Yirrkala community for the official season launch of Miwatj Yolŋu – Sunrise People on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 November 2023. The proceedings on Saturday afternoon will be celebrated with an afternoon of ceremony, song and storytelling for the public to attend.
A public program of readings from the acclaimed Yolŋu women’s publication Song Spirals, family friendly workshops and performances runs alongside the exhibition season. The full program will be announced in late September 2023.
Miwatj Yolŋu – Sunrise People
28 October 2023 – 11 February 2024
Opening event: Saturday 4 – Sunday 5 November 2023