2 – 19 May 2019
about the exhibition
Bula’bula Arts is located in Ramingining in North East Arnhem Land, with its core objective being to preserve and foster Yolngu culture. Gurrwiliny is the Arafura wetlands surrounding this area which is shared by many families and language groups. This exhibition focuses on the weavings made by the community’s women artists, showcasing beautiful natural fibres and masterful techniques. The women come from prominent families and include Mary Dhapalany, the twin sister of actor David Gulpilil, and Evonne Munuyngu who is also a sister of David. The plant materials are harvested from surrounding areas, then worked, treated and woven using knowledge passed on from their ancestors. For most pieces, the body of the weaving is made from Pandanus which has to be hand stripped to remove the spikes that line the outside of the leaves. Bush string is used for binding, decorating and basket handles and can be made from Sand Palm, Kurrajong bark and Banyan bark. The plant materials are coloured using natural dyes made from fruits, roots, leaves and barks. For example, the roots of the Morinda tree are boiled to produce yellow dye whilst Bloodroot grass is boiled for varying lengths of time to create pink through to deep red colouring. Once the material is treated, the artists then weave objects such as mats, fish traps, batjbarra (water chestnut scoops) and mindirr (dilly bags). Through the creation of these works the Yolngu women connect with their community, histories and country creating beautiful objects and teaching future generations. Bula’bula Arts is one of Australia’s most significant art centres with its artists represented in collections nationally and internationally.