• Artist: Wukun Wanambi
  • Art Centre: Buku Larrnggay Mulka
  • Region: Arnhem Land

Artwork Story

Wukun Wanambi is a Yolngu artist from Eastern Arnhem Land and a member of the Marrakulu clan. He works primarily using earth pigments on bark and larrakitj (traditional memorial poles) and also makes prints at the Buku Larrngay Print Space in Yirrkala.


Wukun began painting in 1997 as a result of the Saltwater project in which he participated. His arm of the Marrakulu clan is responsible for saltwater imagery which had not been painted intensively since his father’s death in 1981. His Djunggayi (caretakers), principally the late Yanggarriny Wunungmurra (1932-2003) , transferred their knowledge of these designs to Wukun so that the title to saltwater could be asserted. Some of these designs were outside even his father’s public painting repertoire.


Wukun’s first bark for the Saltwater project won the 1998 NATSIAA Best Bark award. Wukun has gone on to establish a high profile career as an artist.


In 2003 NATSIAA awards, a sculptured larrakitj by Wukun was Highly Commended in 3D category Since then he has been included in many prestigious collections. He had his first solo show at Raft Artspace in Darwin in 2004 followed by solo shows at Niagara Galleries, Melbourne in 2005 and 2008.


Wukun has been involved heavily in all the major communal projects of this decade including the Sydney Opera House commission, the opening of the National Museum of Australia, the Wukidi ceremony in the Darwin Supreme Court and the films: Lonely Boy Richard, The Pilot’s Funeral and Dhakiyarr versus The King. Wukun is an active community member in recreation and health projects and supports a large family.


In 2008 he was commissioned to provide a design for installation on a seven-storey glass façade in the Darwin Waterfront Development.


He became a Director of Buku-Larrnggay’s media centre, The Mulka Project in 2007. In this role he facilitates media projects such as the Nhama DVD and mentors young Yolngu in accessing training and employment in the media centre.




Saltwater 1998-2001

2001 18th NATSIAA, MAGNT

2001 New from Old Annandale Galleries, Sydney, NSW.

2002 19th National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards, Museum and Art Galleries of the NT, Darwin.

2003 Brighton International Art Festival UK

2003 Larrakitj Rebecca Hossack Gallery


2004 August Wukun Wanambi (first solo show) Raft 2 Darwin

2005 May Wukun Wanambi Niagara Galleries Melbourne

July-August 2005 Yakumirri Raft Artspace (exhibition purchased by the Holmes a Court collection)


2005 14 October-27 November ‘Yå kumirri’, 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, Bukulu\thunmi – 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 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards, 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

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

2014 – Gapan Gallery GARMA Festival, Northeast Arnhem Land, NT


Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory


Sydney Opera House, Sydney, NSW

Harland Collection

Kerry Stokes Collection

NT Supreme Court-Wuki[i

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

© Buku Larrnggay Mulka