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Artist : Yirawala, BillyArtist: Gadtjawuli

Artist:Johnny Bulunbulun
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Artist:Johnny Bulunbulun

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Johnny Bulunbulun  1946-2010


Maningrida , Central Arnhem Land , Northern Territory


by Jim Davidson 1974


Natural earth Pigment on bark  83cm x46cm

This bark painting was collected by Jim Davidson in 1974.  It was painted by Johnny Bulun Bulun, who was a senior member of the Ganalbingu group, a important singer and ceremonial initiate.   His work came to prominence in the 70s and is held in a number of major collections in Australia and overseas.

This painting depicts his person totem , Guwayang, the long necked turtle and the sacred water hole.  Guwayang also is an important creature in Central Arnhem Land mythology.  The back ground shows aquatic plants and catfish that live along side the long neck turtle in the water hole.   


  • Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
    Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth
    Central Collection, Australian National University, Canberra
    Djomi Museum, Maningrida, NT
    Edith Cowan University Collection Perth WA, Flinders
    University Art Museum, Adelaide
    Kluge Foundation, Morven Estate, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA
    Milingimbi Collection, MECA, Milingimbi Educational and Cultural Association, NT
    Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin
    Museum of Contemporary Art, Maningrida Collection, Sydney
    National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
    National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
    National Maritime Museum, Darling Harbour, Sydney
    Parliament House Art Collection, Canberra
    The Holmes a Court Collection, Perth
    The Kelton Foundation, Santa Monica, USA


  • Bibliography

    Butler, R., 1986, From Dreamtime To Machine Time, Imprint 21(3-4), 9 (C)

    Caruana, W., 1987, Australian Aboriginal Art, a Souvenir Book of Aboriginal Art in the Australian National Gallery, Australian National Gallery, Parkes, Australian Capital Territory (C)

    Caruana, W. (ed.), 1989, Windows on the Dreaming, Ellsyd Press, Sydney (C)

    Caruana, W., 1993, Aboriginal Art, Thames and Hudson, London (C)

    Hughes,A: The Art of John Mawurndjal and John Bulunbulun: Introduction in Mawurndjal and Bulun Bulun Exhibition catalogue, Annandale Galleries, Sydney, 1997

    Isaacs, J., 1984, Australia's Living Heritage, Arts of the Dreaming, Lansdowne Press, Sydney (C)

    Isaacs, J., 1989, Australian Aboriginal Paintings, Weldon Publishing, New South Wales

    Langton, M., 1992-93 The two women looked back over their shoulders & lamented leaving their country: detached comment (recent urban) & symbolic narrative (traditional), Aboriginal Art in the Public Eye, Art Monthly Australia Supplement, 7-9 (C)

    Magin P; John Bulunbulun: I water my trees and I paint, in Mawurndjul and Bulunbulun exhibition catalogue, Annandale Galleries, Sydney 1997 Morphy H. Aboriginal Art, Phaidon Press 1998

    McCulloch S, Contemporary Aboriginal Art: A Guide to the Rebirth of an Ancient Culture, Allen & Unwin 1999

    1993 Aratjara, Art of the First Australians: Traditional and Contemporary Works by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Artists, exhib. cat. (conceived and designed by Bernard Luthi in collaboration with Gary Lee), Dumont, Buchverlag, Koln (C)

    NT News, 27/12/1993, p. 6

    O?Ferrall, M., 1990, Keepers of the Secrets, Aboriginal Art from Arnhem land in the Collection of the Art Gallery of Western Australia, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth (C)

    Reser, J., 1977, Djakaldjirrparr: explanation of a mural painted by Johnny Bulun Bulun as told to Joseph Reser, Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies Newsletter 8, 79-83

    Reser, J., 1977, The dwelling as motif in Aboriginal bark painting. In Ucko, P. (ed.), Form in Indigenous Art, Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies, Canberra

    Tweedie, P. and Scollay, C., 1979, Art of the Aboriginal, Panorama: the Journal of Ansett Airlines Australia 21 (2), 1,4 (C)

    Tweedie, P., 1985, This My Country, A View of Arnhem Land, William Collins Pty Ltd, Sydney



Last Updated: Thursday, 22 February 2018 08:49