Baluka Maymuru "Yinapunapu"


Baluka is the son of Nanyin Maymuru (1918-1969) the elder brother of Narritjin, one of Yirrkala’s most famous artists. Baluka is himself an important artist and also head man of the Maŋgalili clan. Nanyin and Narritjin established something of a ‘school’ of artists made up of themselves, their wives and children which produced prolifically through the 1960’s and 70’s. Narritjin was a presence in most of the major historical events of the 20th Century affecting Yolŋu. From the mid-1950’s their work was collected by many visiting anthropologists, artists, curators and later tourists and mining company employees. In the early 70's he established a shelter at ‘Raki’ on the beach at Yirrkala from which he sold artwork outside the mission craft shop system if not in direct competition with it. In the spirit of self-determination this leadership act laid the groundwork for the Buku-Larrŋgay Art centre which was established in 1976 as a Yolŋu controlled enterprise. Baluka is the exemplar of a Yolŋu elder. He is softly spoken and almost shy. He dedicates himself to his onerous ceremonial responsibilities. This often means long stretches at remote homelands far from his own home. He is fastidious and gifted as an artist in both the secular and presumably the sacred spheres. This is reflected in his two awards, nineteen years apart, in the same category (three dimensional) at the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards. Ochre on Bark 225 x 72 cms


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