New Acquisition: Gunybi Ganambarr's "Buyku" (1973)

Buyku will be on view in the Hood Museum's vitrine window from June 18 through December 4, 2022.

Hood Quarterly, summer 2022

Commissioned by the Hood Museum of Art to complement the fall exhibition Madayin: Eight Decades of Aboriginal Australian Bark Painting from Yirrkala, this diptych was created by Yolŋu artist Gunybi Ganambarr. Ganambarr used a Dremel tool to etch this complex design onto aluminum panels; it depicts a sacred expanse of water near the artist's home in Gänn. While the rule within the community is "to depict the land, you must use the land" (that is, bark and natural pigments), Ganambarr received permission from Yolŋu elders to use construction materials and other debris dumped along roadsides and elsewhere in Yirrkala. Ganambarr has since expanded this body of work, substituting aluminum panels for organic materials and thereby transforming the centuries-old practice of Yolŋu bark painting, both materially and conceptually, to incorporate a crucial dialogue on Aboriginal land rights and the construction and mining industries' impact on the Yolŋu.

Written June 27, 2022