Djirrirra Wunungmurra, Dhalwangu / Australian, born 1968
Northeast Arnhem Land
Northern Territory



Natural pigments on eucalyptus bark

Overall: 69 11/16 × 17 11/16 in. (177 × 45 cm)

Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Gift of Will Owen and Harvey Wagner



Place Made: Australia, Oceania


21st century

Object Name


Research Area


Not on view


These two works show the parallel styles practiced by contemporary Dhaḻwaŋu artist Djirrirra Wunuŋmurra. On the left, she has depicted Buyku, the ancestral fishtrap at Gulutji, which can also be seen in the adjacent painting by Gawirriṉ Gumana. This fishtrap is celebrated in a ceremony that unites the Dhaḻwaŋu with other allied groups who sing the waters of the river. Djirrirra was given permission to paint this design by her father, Yaŋgarriny Wunuŋmurra, whom she assisted for many years with his paintings.

Djirrirra is one of a number of women who, in recent years, have moved away from painting the sacred clan designs in favor of more individuated motifs. Yukuwa (Vigna vexillata) is a yam whose annual reappearance is a metaphor for renewal. It is celebrated in a ceremony shared by all Yirritja clans. Yukuwa is also one of the personal names of the artist, making this painting akin to a self-portrait.

From the 2022 exhibition Maḏayin: Eight Decades of Aboriginal Australian Bark Painting from Yirrkala, curated by Mr. W. Waṉambi; Djambawa Marawili AM; Wäka Munuŋgurr; Yinimala Gumana; Henry Skerritt; and Kade McDonald

Course History

ANTH 27.01, Economic Anthropology, Maron Greenleaf, Fall 2022

ANTH 31.01/WGSS 36.01, Gender in Cross Cultural Perspectives, Sabrina Billings, Fall 2022

ENVS 85.01/NAIS 81.04, Land, Love, and Kinship, Nicholas Reo, Fall 2022

GEOG 11.01, Qualitative Methods, Abigail Neely, Fall 2022

GEOG 31.01, Postcolonial Geographies, Erin Collins, Fall 2022

NAIS 25.01, Indian Country Today, N. Bruce Duthu, Fall 2022

SART 27.01, Printmaking I, Tricia Treacy, Fall 2022

Exhibition History

Everywhen: The Eternal Present in Indigenous Art from Australia, Harvard Art Museums, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachussetts, February 5-September 18, 2016.

Madayin: Eight Decades of Aboriginal Australian Bark Paintings from Yirrkala, Henry Skerritt and Jami Powell, September 3 - December 4, 2022, Luise and Morton Kaish Gallery, Owen Robertson Cheatham Gallery, Citrin Family Gallery, Northeast Gallery, Engles Family Gallery, Israel Sack Gallery, Rush Family Gallery, Harteveldt Family Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire


Will Owen (1952-2015) and Harvey Wagner (1931-2017), Chapel Hill, North Carolina; given to present collection, 2014.

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