BULA'BULA ARTS
Goyurr. The Journey.
3 September - 28 September 2013
Goyurr. The Journey.

Philip Gudthaykudthay, ochre on paper.

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A group show of historic and recent paintings, weavings and works on paper. Featuring Philip Gudthaykudthay, Bobby Bununggurr, Robyn Djunginy, Peter Minygululu, Charlie Djurritjini, Linda Namiyal Bopirri Nanuyal, Julie Malibirr Djulibing, Dorothy Djukulul, plus Judy Baypungala (dec) and Dr David Malangi (dec).

Goyurr is a word that brings a smile to people’s faces in Ramingining. Bobby Bununggurr described it to Ben Wallace, Bula’bula’s curator, as "I am ready to go", or "I am willing to go", or "where they are going". It is the ideal word, then, to convey the spirit of these amazing artists that has sustained them and their art practice over the past forty years.

During the time Bula’bula Arts has been operating in Ramingining, central Arnhem Land, it has gathered a substantial history, along with international recognition. It can also lay claim to some of the most significant artists Australia has produced, such as Philip Gudthaykudthay and Dr David Malangi. Bula’bula’s artists have become highly regarded for their superb art across various media including fibre, painting, barks, works on paper, and Dupun (hollow log coffins or poles).

This exhibition of carefully selected works from the late 1990s draws from each of the Bula’bula’s artforms. While not exhaustive in its scope, the exhibition aims to give the viewer an impression of the diverse talent across time that inhabits Ramingining.

It is indicative of Bula’bula’s achievements that its artists have regularly been included in significant exhibitions such as the ground-breaking exhibitions Aratjara and The Native Born, both of which toured internationally in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The stage was set early for Ramingining’s rise when in 1984 Djon Mundine, the then curator at Bula’bula Arts, curated an exhibition of their work at the Power Gallery (now the Museum of Contemporary Art). Even more extraordinary was that this exhibition was acquired in its entirety by the Power Gallery. Given that the focus of the Gallery was on contemporary art, this was seen as a radical move at the time. Previously, Indigenous art from remote regions was the province of ethnographic museums.

Through the decades, Bula'bula's artists have remained true to their culture and sense of purpose. Their works are not mindless repetitions of tired, but popular, designs aimed at satisfying a broad market; they are deeply felt, considered assertions of identity and sovereignty, interwoven with the significant historical memories and politics that have shaped their lives over the centuries. Each work created is a step towards maintaining their cultural foundations and paving the way forward for their descendants.