13. Bilam, 2023 (22/25)
"This print is about the Bilam (plum). It is one of the first bush fruits I can remember learning about as a kid. When I went to Yirrkala school, I would collect these plums at teatime as a snack. It is sweet and tasty. Bilam grows in the wet season and can be found in many places. There is a bilam tree in front of the Buku-Larrŋgay Mulka Art Centre.
As a print maker, I love experimenting with different colours and print methods. I made this print using Linocut and Screen-print. The geometric shapes in the background represent how the elders teach our djamarrkuli (kids) to identify different fruits and plants. The dark purple and light purple reflect the colours of the bilam. The linocut marking inside the shapes that are light pink and black reflect the surface of the pip of the bilam. The outer purple border with the black linocut lines represents the veins on the leaves.
The 'flowers' represent a cluster of the leaves of the bilam. I outlined them using the screen-print method. It was meant to be a light blue, but somehow when dry, it magically changed into two colours mauve and light blue. I still don't know how this happened, but I love it."
This print was hidden away for a year as the artist had the responsibility of being printmaker for other artists at Buku. After some time, she rediscovered it and she thinks the colour change is because the print came 'alive' after being dormant for so long.
- Linocut and Screen-print on BFK Rives paper
- Dimensions: 55 x 37cm artwork on 78 x 52cm paper
- Cat No. 2541-23-22/25
- Homeland: Gulurunga
- Clan: Rirratjiŋu
- Moiety: Dhuwa
Munuy’ŋu is a Rirratjiŋu lady who was born and still lives in Yirrkala. In 2010 Munuy’ŋu was part of a printing workshop at Buku Larrnggay Mulka in collaboration with the Yambirrpa Youth Development Unit at Yirrkala School to provide training for young people not attending School. She went on to complete school maintaining a focus on print making within her studies, with a clear ambition to work in the arts, in particular Buku Larrŋgay Mulka centre and also as a TV presenter.
In 2016 Munuy’ŋu Marika became the Print Master for the Yirrkala Print Space and has since managed the studio and delivered some of the most successful Yirrkala Print Space exhibitions to date.
She is married to Dimithaya Burarrwaŋa a founding and current member of popular band King Stungray and has two children. Munuy’ŋu leads the printing of etchings, linocuts and screenprints, for all the artists at Buku Larrŋgay Mulka wishing to put work to print. As told by Munuy’ŋu upon starting at Buku Larrŋgay Mulka in 2010:
“I am a Yirrkala girl and I love printmaking especially mixing colours and looking at the design. I really enjoy talking to people and friends and telling them about Yirrkala. I have good rhythm and enjoy dancing. My mother Djalinda gives me support with my art”
Buku-Larrŋgay Mulka Centre is the Indigenous community controlled art centre of Northeast Arnhem Land. Located in Yirrkala, a small Aboriginal community on the northeastern tip of the Top End of the Northern Territory, approximately 700km east of Darwin. The primarily Yolŋu (Aboriginal) staff of around twenty services Yirrkala and the approximately twenty-five homeland centres in the radius of 200km.
In the 1960’s, Narritjin Maymuru set up his own beachfront gallery from which he sold art that now graces many major museums and private collections. He is counted among the art centre’s main inspirations and founders, and his picture hangs in the museum. His vision of Yolŋu-owned business to sell Yolŋu art that started with a shelter on a beach has now grown into a thriving business that exhibits and sells globally.
Today Buku-Larrŋgay Mulka Centre consists of two divisions; the Yirrkala Art Centre which represents Yolŋu artists exhibiting and selling contemporary art and The Mulka Project which acts as a digital production studio and archiving centre incorporating the museum.
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