Art / Cultural Heritage / Indigenous & Aboriginal

The Muddy and the Clean, Gapu Murnuk

Judy Lirririnyin, Warrinyu Wanga (Flying Fox Camp), 2017

Gapu Murnuk, the coming together of freshwater and saltwater, the muddy and the clean. The unity of which demonstrates the perfect balance and harmony in nature being connected, one, and alive.

The Milingimbi Art and Culture of Australia brings Gapu Murnuk, an exhibition of bark paintings, weavings, and painted poles, to Washington, DC exhibiting the designs and traditions of the Yolngu people.

Aesthetically, the contemporary art pieces are bold and imaginative that would enhance any private or public art collection. Fresh splashes of color in mat weavings that add a burst of sunshine. Tall painted poles with intricate patterns of dots jut from the earth. While delicate bark painting compositions that demand a more intuitive response.

Gapu Murnuk requires attention. No. Gapu Murnuk demands attention. One cannot help but inquire what is the language, the message, or the meaning.

Milingimbi, the largest island of the Crocodile Islands of the Northern Territory of Australia, is the center for ritual ceremonies for clans in the area. What does a culture over 40,000 years old share with a young civilization through artistic expression?

To start, as explained to visitors, “Gapu murnuk is celebrated for its wealth and abundance. In Yolngu ceremonies, gapu murnuk often represents the interconnected relationships between Yirritja and Dhuwa: the two complementary categories that structure every element in the universe.”

Chris Durkin, curator of the Gapu Murnuk exhibition and cultural translator, emphasized that these artists share a tradition that has been passed down for centuries emphasizing their connection to the land, country, language, and ceremony.

As artists, Chris explains,

“They really want people to have a glimpse of the depth and complexity of their culture, their language, land, sea, and ceremony. Art making is a part of that – it is not separate.”

It is a perfect time to collect and support the preservation of a living culture through these dynamic and sophisticated art pieces available for sale through the Milingimbi Art and Culture Center (sample of art pieces for sale). The exhibition is open through October 25, 2017 at the Embassy of Australia, 1601 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20036.

Gapu Murnuk is a extraordinary opportunity to experience Milingimbi art.

By Keri Douglas, founder and publisher of All rights reserved. Copyright protected.



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