The Yolngu word ‘yäkumirri’ literally means ‘named’. To say an artist is ‘yäkumirri’ means they have a ‘name’ or profile. The term is used around the art centre at Yirrkala and amongst artists as a point of pride.
From a starting point of group shows in the early 1990s, these artists of Yirrkala developed individual profiles with awards, solo shows and separate gallery representation. All the artists featured here have won a major Australian Art Award or had a successful solo exhibition. The works of this exhibition consist of large bark paintings from fifteen of the Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Centre artists who are ‘yäkumirri’. The elders of Yirrkala have resisted a shift to acrylic paints on canvas and board, opting instead to continue painting the sacred title deeds of their country on nuwayak, or sheets of bark.
The exhibition, first shown at Raft artspace in July 2005, was purchased in its entirety for the Holmes à Court Collection.
Will Stubbs the Co-ordinator, the original exhibition said:
It is very rare for a collector to buy a whole exhibition from a commercial gallery lock, stock and barrel. Hers is one of the best collections of Australian indigenous art in the world and now that these works have been acquired they will stay together as a record of the excellence achieved by this generation of Yolngu artists.
This exhibition is a joint celebration of their individual achievements in getting to that level without compromising their law, their art or their identity. It is also a chance for more people to learn these important names.
Artists include; Wolpa Wanambi, Djambawa Marawili, Gawirrin Gumana, Mulkun Wirrpanda, Naminapu Maymuru, Yananymul Mununggurr, Napuwarri Marawili, Wukun Wanambi, Nawurapu Wunungmurra, Gulumbu Yunupingu, Marrnyula Mununggurr, Waturr Gumana, Banduk Marika, Galuma Maymuru, Wanyubi Marika.
Please visit the Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Centre for more information on the artists and the Yirrkala community.
Related link: Raft artspace