Mulkun Wirrpanda (dec) was the daughter of the great Yolgnu leader Dhakiyarr Wirrpanda. As the eldest and most knowledgeable for the Dhudi-Djapu clan from Dhuruputjpi, Mulkun Wirrpanda was acknowledged as a leader, one of the few Yolngu women to have this status.
Mulkun Wirrpanda painted Dhudi-djapu miny’tji (sacred clan design) that depicts her land at Dhuruputjpi. Mulkun was an early practitioner of works without figurative imagery within the miny’tji. Until recently the painting of this ‘raw’ miny’tji was restricted to ceremonial use. The work is always done using natural earth pigments (ochres).
Mulkun painted on bark, larrakitj (memorial poles) and yidaki (didjeridus) and is a talented carver, weaver and print maker. Her work has been exhibited throughout Australia and in Asia.
Mulkun Wirrpanda was widow to Wakuthi Marawili, a Madarrpa clan leader. She is also mother (by kinship) to senior artist Djambawa Marawili who chairs the Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Art Centre and Museum. Dhakiyarr’s descendents have taken steps to restore his honour. Seventy years after his disappearance, the Wirrpanda family held a Wukidi or burial ceremony in Darwin, a ceremony to resolve a conflict between tribes that have wronged each other. A commemorative artwork was installed in the Darwin Supreme Court.
© Buku Larrnggay Mulka