Wolpa Wanambi

Wolpa is the youngest daughter of the great Dundiwuy Wanambi (dec. 1996). Instructed to paint by him, Wolpa assisted in all of the major works produced by her father in the nineties including the National Aboriginal Art Award Best Bark Painting in 1994 and the Wagilag carvings in the National Gallery of Australia Collection. Most of this work was done at their outstation of Gurka’wuy. In the year of the old man’s death, he granted that Wolpa be attributed as artist to a major bark painted entirely by her under his instruction. In 2000, Wolpa won the National Indigenous Heritage Art Award. 

Wolpa paints using traditional natural ochres on bark and hollowed logs. She continues the tradition of her late father by painting the Marrakulu sacred designs in the same pedantic style, taking many months to complete each work. A number of her bark paintings depict the Gundimolk, a ceremonial ground in the artist’s Marrakulu clan homeland of Gurka’wuy (also known as Trial Bay). This area is still in use for a variety of ceremonies including age grading, men’s business, mortuary and women’s business. The ground is associated with the felling of the Gadayka (stringybark) tree by Wuyal the ancestral honey hunter and his associate Gany’tjalala. 

These men felled the stringbark trees with their stone axes brought on their journey from the distant quarry at Nilibidji, in their search for native honey. The felling of these trees also created the present day landscape. Wuyal founded other Marrakulu lands away from Gurka’wuy, for example, Nhulunbuy that is now the site of a large mining town. 

The Gundilmolk is also the ceremonial ground used by the Dhuwa clans that are associated with the epic Wawalg Sisters myth that is revered by the Yolnu of north east Arnhem Land. This sacred ground represents the area where the younger of the two sisters entered womanhood at the beginnings of their travels. It is also associated with the Djuwany people of this area during Ancestral times. 

Wolpa paints at Buku-Larrngay Mulka, the art centre at Yirrkala in the Northern Territory.

To view Wolpa Wanambi's CV click here ] 

Wolpa Wanambi, Djerrka at Gurka’wuy (3064P), 2007, natural ochres and pigment on hollow stringy bark log, height: 228cm, 10695

Djerrka at Gurka’wuy (3064P), 2007
natural ochres and pigment on hollow stringy bark log
height: 228cm

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