Bulay(i)

Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Artists with Indigenous Jewellery Project

6 October - 15 November

The exhibition Bulay(i):Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Artists with Indigenous Jewellery Project features 40 Yolŋu jewellers from Buku-Larrnggay Mulka who participated in the workshops with the Indigenous Jewellery Project over 2016 and early 2017.

Buku-Larrnggay Mulka is one of Australia’s most prestigious and internationally recognised Aboriginal-owned art centres in Yirrkala, North-East Arnhem Land. The artists from Buku-Larrnggay Mulka are well known for their painting, sculpture, new media, printmaking and have been exhibited in many of Australia's leading public and commercial galleries. The centre is also known for practising and maintaining artistic and cultural tradition while creating exciting innovation with its art.

The jewellery practice from this region was included in the ADC exhibition Art on a String in 2001 curated by Louise Hamby and Diana Young.  The Yolŋu jewellers make stunning beadwork made from extremely fine seed beads, shells and shark vertebrae.

The Bulay(i) Project is the first jewellery-focused project held at Buku-Larrŋgay Mulka over the period of 2016 and early 2017 by the Indigenous Jewellery Project. Curator Emily McCulloch Childs and contemporary jeweller Melinda Young ran workshops with the aim to maintain, innovate and document traditional Yolŋu jewellery practice and expanding jewellers’ practice to include new techniques and materials, such as metals.

The exhibition Bulay(i):Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Artists with Indigenous Jewellery Project  includes 40 Yolŋu jewellers from Buku-Larrnggay Mulka who participated in the workshops and shows their resulting works.  Artist include: Marrnyula Mununggurr, Madinydjarr Yirrinyina #2 Yunupinu, Rerrkirrwanga Mununggurr, Djul’Djul’ Gurruwiwi, Djuwharrwharr Marika, Madatjula Yunupinu, Marrawaymala Yunupinu, Mandy Y. Wanambi, Dindirrk Mununggurr, Djerrknu Marika, Bitharr Waymaru, Mothara Wirrpanda, Djuwakan 2 Marika, Lewina Mununggurr, Munuy’nu Marika, Wundura Murrinyina, Ganaparra Gurruwiwi, Dwawukunbulun Mununggurr, Birrpuma Yunupingu, Gulalay Mununggurr, Metjmitj Mununggurr and Wirilpa Yunupingu.


More about the Indigenous Jewellery Project

Founded in 2013, the Indigenous Jewellery Project (IJP) is the first nation-wide Indigenous Australian contemporary jewellery project. IJP works with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-owned art centres across Australia, running workshops on country with traditional Indigenous jewellers, founding curator Emily McCulloch Childs and leading contemporary jewellers.

Part art project, part social enterprise, the aim of the Indigenous Jewellery Project is to strengthen and continue existing traditions and facilitate artists to develop a career as exhibiting contemporary artist jewellers through upskilling, involving developing practice and the use of professional jewellery materials. It is focused on developing and maintaining Aboriginal jewellery and small object tradition and practice, reinforcing the connection to traditional lands and the natural world and developing a sophisticated contemporary art craft practice, in which works are created that both sit on the body and outside it.

Emily McCulloch Childs is a visual arts writer, researcher, publisher and curator and co-director of McCulloch & McCulloch. She is co-author & publisher (with her mother Susan McCulloch) of the 4th edition of McCulloch's Encyclopedia of Australian Art and McCulloch's Contemporary Art; the complete guide. She is the author and co-publisher of New Beginnings: Classic Paintings from the Corrigan Collection of 21st Century Aboriginal Art

Melinda Young is a Sydney-based contemporary jeweller, UNSW lecturer and curator. 


EXHIBITION EVENT DETAILS

Bulay(i): Curator Talk with Emily McCulloch Childs
Friday 6 October 2-3pm
Through workshops held in 2016 and 2017, Indigenous Jewellery Project founding curator Emily McCulloch Childs helped to expand the jewellers' practice to include new techniques and materials such as metals.
Hear Emily discuss her experiences and how the project came about to help maintain, innovate and document traditional Yolngu jewellery practice.
Where: Australian Design Centre, 101-115 William Street, Darlinghurst
Free event. Bookings required

Making jewellery on Country - Experiences on Buku-Larrnggay Mulka
Wednesday 8 November 6 -8pm
Join contemporary jeweller Melinda Young and guests discuss experiences around skilling, community, language and craft around the series of workshops run by Indigenous Jewellery Project, which resulted in the exhibition - Bulay(i).
Founded in 2013, the Indigenous Jewellery Project (IJP) is the first nation-wide Indigenous Australian contemporary jewellery project. IJP works with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-owned art centres across Australia, running workshops on country with traditional Indigenous jewellers, founding curator Emily McCulloch Childs and leading contemporary jewellers.
Time: 6 -8pm/ Drinks from 6pm/ panel starts at 6.30pm sharp
Where: Australian Design Centre, 101-115 William Street, Darlinghurst
Free event. Bookings required


Read Emily McCulloch Childs' essay on Bulay(i):Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Artists with Indigenous Jewellery Project here.

Read a photo diary of the workshops held in April/May 2017 in Garland Magazine article here

Explore more about Indigenous craft and design at ADC here

This exhibition is part of the Sydney Craft Week program. 


Supported through the Australian Government's Indigenous Languages and Arts program.

Australian Government Indigenous Languages and Arts



Image:Pamela Marrawaymala Barrarritja (Fish) Pendant brass and silk, Photo: Emily McCulloch Child.

Marrnyula Mununggurr

That square one that you can see it’s my painting, my designs, and my father’s and my grandfather’s designs, like you can see on the crayon drawings. – Marrnyula Mununggurr, Yirrkala, 2013, Yirrkala Drawings, Art Gallery of NSW

These series of neckpieces reflect Mununggurr’s practice as a painter, as seen in her recent installation Ganybu at Gertrude Contemporary and the National Gallery of Victoria, which was partly comprised of hundreds of small bark paintings. Her paintings often depict a strong grid pattern referring to her clan Djapu, and its site at Wäṉḏawuy homeland, surrounded by permanent freshwater and associated with Mäna the ancestral shark and Bol’ngu the thunderman. Rains inspired by the actions of Bol’ngu feed the rivers and fill the billabongs, resulting in a rich sea life that is a home for mäna. The grid refers to the landscape of the site, a network of billabongs surrounded by ridges and high banks and also relates to the grid of a woven fish trap set here by ancestral hunters.

This series of Mununggurr’s bark painting neckpieces are the first bark paintings made as contemporary jewellery, for the body. As much of the origins in bark painting lie in ceremonial body paint, they complete a nice circle: from the body, to bark paintings for walls and back again to the body.

Marrnyula Mununggurr, Djapu neckpieces, 2017, natural ochres on stringybark with silk, Bulay(i): Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Artists with Indigenous Jewellery Project. Image: Melinda Young.

Djuwakan 2 DJ Marika

A young artist from Buku-Larrnggay Mulka, working here with The Indigenous Jewellery Project's workshop teacher Melinda Young, Djuwakan Marika is the grandson of the famous artist and leader, Wandjuk Marika. Dirimbi is a special stingray that has rings on its tail which Yolngu hunters wear as a trophy of their catch. This is a thousands year old tradition and the first we have heard of traditional Aboriginal ring design.

This piece was selected as a finalist in the 2017 Wandjuk Marika Memorial 3D Award at the Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award, held at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory. This was the first time a piece of contemporary jewellery has been included in this most prestigious award.  

Djuwakan 2 DJ Marika, Dirimbi, The Ring, 2017, 30 x 36 x 21 mm, phosphorous bronze. Bulay(i): Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Artists with Indigenous Jewellery Project. Image: Melinda Young.


Bulay(i) Workshop No 1 2016

Some of the jewellers (left-right): Bitharr Maymaru, Madatjula Robyn Yunupingu, workshop teacher Melinda Young, Marrnyula Mununggurr, Marrawaymala Pamela Yunupingu, Sally Mothara Wirrpanda 

Front: Mandy Y. Wanambi, Mel’s son Miles, Mandy’s son Joseph. 

Image by Arian Pearson, Mulka Project



The Bulay(i) Project Crew

Shirley Ganaparra Gurruwiwi, Mandy Y. Wanambi, Batjulu Louise Wunungmurra, Pamela Marrawaymala Yunupiŋu, Mothara Sally Wirrpanda, Melinda Young, Marrnyula Mununggurr, Madinydjarr Yirrinyina #2 Yunupiŋu, Emily McCulloch Childs, Madajtula Robyn Yunupiŋu. 

Image by Abbie von Bertouch, Buku-Larrnggay Mulka



Bulay(i) Project Third Workshop June 2017

Some of the jewellers (left-right): Mandy Y.Wanambi, Melinda Young, Gulalay #2 Susan Mununggurr, Gloria Maymaru, Nerissa Yunupingu, Marrawaymala Pamela Yunupingu, Emily McCulloch Childs, Betsy Dhawukunbulun Mununggurr,  Shirley Ganaparra Gurruwiwi, Yvonne Yunupingu, Bianca Yunupingu. 

Image by Abbie von Bertouch Buku-Larrnggay Mulka