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Wukun Wanambi is confirmed dead at the age of 59.

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Wukun was best known as a Australian Yolngu painter.
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Wukun Wanambi
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Wukun Wanambi
Wukun Wanambi at Shady Beach, Yirrkala, Northern Territory, Australia.jpg
Wukun Wanambi at Shady Beach, Yirrkala, Northern Territory, Australia, 2019
Born(1962-05-18)18 May 1962
Gurka'wuy, East Arnhem NT, Australia
Died4 May 2022(2022-05-04) (aged 59)
Known forArtist
  • Mithili Wanambi (father)
Wukun Wanambi (18 May 1962 – 4 May 2022) was an Australian Yolngu painter, filmmaker and curator of the Marrakulu clan of northeastern Arnhem Land.
1 Biography
2 Artwork
3 Curatorial practice
4 Awards
5 Collections
6 Significant exhibitions
7 References
8 Further reading
Wukun Wanambi was born in Gurka'wuy as the oldest son in his family. His father, Mithili Wanambi, was an esteemed clan leader and renowned painter. Although Wukun was born to a family of artists, he wished to be a politician growing up.
When Mithili died in 1981, sacred clan designs could no longer be painted because no one had the authority to paint them anymore. It was not until 1997 that Djunggayi (caretakers and preservers of clan knowledge) taught Wukun the designs. Wukun then began painting and created for the Saltwater Country exhibition, re-introducing motifs that had not been painted since his father's death. From this point on, Wukun became a highly renowned artist, dedicated to honoring his father and ancestry through his art.
While Wukun was an artist who uses many different media, he is best known as a painter and sculptor who works with natural pigments on bark and traditional memorial poles, or larrakitj. He also made prints at the Bulka-Larrrŋgay Mulka Centre. Wukun was the Cultural Director of the Mulka Project, the media centre in Buku-Larrŋgay Mulka. Through this position, he advised individuals on what they have the clan authority to depict in film. However, he was also a video artist himself, working to bridge generations by creating archival art that reconstructed ceremonial documentary archives. Rather than solidifying binaries of past and present, traditional and modern, Wukun aimed to show the interconnectedness of time as well as the global network through the recording of ceremonial practices.
Using both his artwork and his involvement with the Mulka Project, Wukun advocated for the agency and involvement of Aboriginal peoples to cultivate a true understanding of Aboriginal cultures.
Curatorial practice
In 2017, Wanambi traveled to the United States to join the curatorial team for the exhibition Madayin: Eight Decades of Aboriginal Australian Art from Yirrkala. This was Wanambi's first time working as a curator. In 2018 he served as curatorial consultant on the exhibition MIwatj at the La Trobe Art Institute. Wanambi believed in incorporating Aboriginal peoples at all levels of art exhibition, and his curatorial work with the Maḏayin exhibition project reflected his desire for Yolngu culture to be depicted the Yolngu way.
1998 – NATSIAA Awards – Best Bark
2003 – National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards – Highly Commended (3D Work)
2007 – Togart Contemporary Art Award (NT) - Winner of Peoples Choice
2010 – National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards – Wandjuk Marika 3D Memorial Award Telstra
2018 – National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards – Wandjuk Marika 3D Memorial Award Telstra
Sydney Opera House, Sydney, NSW
Harland Collection
Kerry Stokes Collection
NT Supreme Court-Wukidi
South Australian Art Gallery
National Gallery of Australia
Art Gallery of NSW
Holmes a Court Collection
Manly Regional Gallery
Musee de Lyon France
Colin and Liz Laverty, Sydney
Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, NSW
British Museum, UK
Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of the University of Virginia
Significant exhibitions
1998–2001 Saltwater
2001 18th NATSIAA, MAGNT
2001 New from Old Annandale Galleries, Sydney, NSW.
2002 19th NATSIAA, Museum and Art Galleries of the NT, Darwin
2003 Brighton International Art Festival UK
2003 Larrakitj Rebecca Hossack Gallery
2004 Wukun Wanambi (first solo show) Raft 2 Darwin
2005 Wukun Wanambi Niagara Galleries Melbourne
2005 Yakumirri, Raft Artspace (exhibition purchased by the Holmes a Court collection)
2005 ‘Yåkumirri’, Holmes a Court Gallery, Perth Artbank: Celebrating 25 Years of Australian Art touring exhibition 4.06-10.07 9 regional galleries from Cairns to Bathurst
2006 TOGA NT Contemporary Art Award Parliament House Darwin
2006 Telstra NATSIAA
2006 ‘Walking together to aid Aboriginal Health.’ Shalom College UNSW
2006 ‘Bulayi- Small Gems’ Suzanne O’Connell Gallery Brisbane 2006 ‘Arnhem Land Ochres’ Mina Mina Art Gallery Brunswick Heads.
2007 Toga NT Contemporary Art Award – winner Peoples Choice
2007 Galuku Gallery, Festival of Darwin, NT
2007 Bukulungthunmi - Coming Together, One Place, Raft Artspace, Darwin, NT
2008 Outside Inside - bark and hollow logs from Yirrkala, Bett Gallery Hobart, Tas
2008 Yarpany - Honey - bark paintings and Hollow Logs of the Marrakulu Clan, Framed Gallery, Darwin, NT
2008 Gapan Gallery - Bendt Prints, Garma Festival Site, Gulkula, NT.
2008 Galuku Gallery (Nomad Art Productions) - Berndt Prints, Darwin Festival, Botanical Gardens, Darwin, NT
2008, Wukun Wanambi - Niagara Galleries, Richmond, Vic
2009 Larrakitj - Kerry Stokes Collection, Western Australian Art Gallery, Perth, WA
2009 After Berndt - Etchings from the Drawings, Indigenart Subiaco, WA
2009–2010 Almanac: Australian Art from the Gift of Ann Lewis AO, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, NSW
2010 The White Show, Short Street Gallery, Broome, WA
2010 17th Biennale of Sydney, ‘Larrakitj ‘- the Kerry Stokes Collection, Museum on Contemporary Art, Sydney, NSW
2010 ‘Returning to Djakapurra’ - A Collection of Poles and Barks from Yirrkala, Redot Gallery, Singapore. 2010, 27th NATSIAA, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin, NT - Winner 3D category
2011 One Clan Three Hands, Niagara Galleries, Melbourne Vic 2011 Telstra NATSIAA, MAGNT Darwin NT
2011 Gapan Gallery GARMA Festival, Northeast Arnhem Land, NT
2012 Three, Chan Contemporary Art Space, Darwin NT 2013 Finalist West Australian Indigenous art Awards
2013 Prized Nomad Art Darwin
2013 ‘Found’ Annandale Galleries Sydney NSW 2013 Gapan Gallery GARMA Festival, Northeast Arnhem Land, NT
2014 Gapan Gallery GARMA Festival, Northeast Arnhem Land, NT
2015 NATSIAA, MAGNT 2015 Enduring Civilisations, British Museum, UK
2015 Gapan Gallery GARMA Festival, Northeast Arnhem Land, NT
2015 Revolution, Nomad Art, Darwin NT
2015 Yirrkala Mob, Bangarra Boards. RAFT Art Space, Alice Springs NT
2015 Unsettled, National Museum of Australia, ACT
2019–2020 The Inside World: Contemporary Aboriginal Australian Memorial Poles, Nevada Museum of Art and touring.
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