Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that the following pages may contain images or names of people who have since passed away.

Guluwirri – Sand Palm

Manany Gurruwiwi

Earth pigments on Stringybark

157cm x 52cm


Wititj is the all powerful rainbow serpent that travelled through Galpu clan lands and on further, during the days of early times called Waŋarr.
This painting depicts events pertaining to Wititj, ie storm and monsoon, in the ancestral past.  This place depicted here is surrounded by Gulwirri – palms
The sacred clan design for Galpu country has been used in this painting to identify the surface of the smooth water, showing the representations of rainbow reflections, similar to an oil slick, to that of the skin of the olive python Wititj. The rainbow is sang and comes reflecting the colours of the powerful Witij the rainbow Serpent.  The sun shines off the wet leaves the dancers wave in ceremony.
He sang for the storm and the lightning came and knocked the trees down(diagonal lines in the background design).
The structure of the image is of the spiritual geography of the place known as Muypan or Goyder River in English.
This place is a Ringitj (or consular ceremonial) zone wherein the songs have enshrined embassy rights to different Dhuwa clan groups who have a role in the overall songline to gather with impunity at this focal point of the narrative.
The groups so linked in this site are those the artist described as ‘the Wititj mob’.  Those with connection to the Ancestral Olive Python or Rainbow Serpent whose activities herald tempest.  Another linking reference is Djerrka -the Water Goanna manifesting the Dhuwa Creation sisters.  Also known as Lilama, Bokminy, Djiltjila (deep names).  These clans are Wawilak, Djarrwark, Galpu, Marrakulu, Golumala and Rirratjiŋu.
The Galpu therefore have rights to this area through these connections of song and painting including body painting.
One of the motifs associated with these sisters and present at the site are Gulwirri- the Fan Palm.  This can be read as the digging stick of the Sisters bedecked with ceremonial feathered objects.
The life force within the waters is shown by dots.  The activities of these Creation beings imbued the water with this power.

Ref: BUKU976-20



Buku-Larrnggay Mulka
Report Issue

Buku-Larrnggay Mulka

Buku-Larrŋgay Mulka Centre is the Indigenous community controlled art centre of Northeast Arnhem Land. Located in Yirrkala, a small Aboriginal community on the northeastern tip of the Top End of the Northern Territory, approximately 700km east of Darwin. Our primarily Yolŋu (Aboriginal) staff of around twenty services Yirrkala and the approximately twenty-five homeland centres in the radius of 200km.

Artists from Buku-Larrŋgay Mulka have won First Prize in the last two National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award and featured in many cutting edge contemporary fine art exhibitions and Biennale both in Australia and overseas. Recent solo retrospectives and high profile multi media installations confirm the Centre’s reputation as an innovative and important artist collective. But the history of the art from this region goes back a long way.

In the 1960’s, Narritjin Maymuru set up his own beachfront gallery from which he sold art that now graces many major museums and private collections. He is counted among the art centre’s main inspirations and founders, and his picture hangs in the museum. His vision of Yolŋu-owned business to sell Yolŋu art that started with a shelter on a beach has now grown into a thriving business that exhibits and sells globally.

Buku-Larrŋgay –  “the feeling on your face as it is struck by the first rays of the sun (i.e. facing East)

Mulka – “a sacred but public ceremony.”

In 1976, the Yolŋu artists established ‘Buku-Larrŋgay Arts’ in the old Mission health centre as an act of self-determination coinciding with the withdrawal of the Methodist Overseas Mission and the Land Rights and Homeland movements.

In 1988, a new museum was built with a Bicentennary grant and this houses a collection of works put together in the 1970s illustrating clan law and also the Message Sticks from 1935 and the Yirrkala Church Panels from 1963.

In 1996, a screen print workshop and extra gallery spaces was added to the space to provide a range of different mediums to explore. In 2007, The Mulka Project was added which houses and displays a collection of tens of thousands of historical images and films as well as creating new digital product.

Still on the same site but in a greatly expanded premises Buku-Larrŋgay Mulka Centre now consists of two divisions; the Yirrkala Art Centre which represents Yolŋu artists exhibiting and selling contemporary art and The Mulka Project which acts as a digital production studio and archiving centre incorporating the museum.

The Centre recently opened an 8 unit accommodation and convention complex.

If you would like to visit our website it is at www.yirrkala.com

More Artworks from Buku-Larrnggay Mulka

Shipping Policy

All purchases include shipping within Australia. We will freight all artworks promptly after purchase from Buku Larrnggay Mulka in Yirrkala to your address. For international shipping, please contact us directly at or Dave Wickens at 0427 447 920 to confirm a quote and delivery details.  

Refund Policy

Refunds will be considered on a case-by-case basis. To enquire about a refund, contact Buku Larrnggay Mulka directly at or Dave Wickens at 0427 447 920

Cancellation / Return / Exchange Policy

Cancellation/Return/Exchange will be considered on a case-by-case basis. To enquire about a cancellation/return/exchange, contact Buku Larrnggay Mulka directly at or Dave Wickens at 0427 447 920