In 1946-7 two anthropologists visited Yirrkala and showed unprecedented respect and interest for Yolngu law. The elders decided to share their wisdom with Ronald and Catherine Berndt. They used hundreds of barks to illustrate the knowledge they were outlining. As the weight of the information being given became apparent, the Berndts shifted to a new media which was more mobile.
They gave the lawmen crayons and butchers paper to use. The result was 300 plus works that have been largely unseen in the Berndt Museum in Perth since that time. The stunning vibrancy and depth of the works shocks all who have seen them
Buku-Larrnggay staff members Araluen Maymuru and Dindirrk Mununggurr travelled to Perth in January 2008 and with the cooperation of John Stanton of the Berndt Museum were able to make copies of 120 of these magnificent works. In response to the historic crayon drawings Buku-Larrnggay with Basil Hall Editions has editioned a series of 28 limited edition prints by current leaders and descendants of the original artists.
The prints emulate the quality of the original drawings and are made by drawing with coloured pencil onto soft ground etching plates. The prints have enabled ceremonial leaders to tell their current stories in reference to works produced by their forebears. Elders and artists who have contributed to the project include Galarrwuy Yunupingu, Djalu Gurruwiwi, Djambawa Marawili, Gawirrin Gumana, Banduk Marika, Gulumbu Yunupingu, Marrnyula Mununggurr, Nongirrnga 2 Marawili, Nyapanyapa Yunupingu and Wukun Wanambi.