Wakun. Artist: Banduk Marika

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Mullet or Wakun (a middle-size mullet) is in the storylines that the Marika family sing, which are an integral part of their ancestral activities. The fish is also associated with fishing and hunting stories in the area of ocean from Yirikala across to Bremmer Island.

This is an original, limited-edition screenprint created by the artist on acetate sheets and printed by master printmaker Basil Hall on 350gsm Magnani archival paper.

Specifications

  • Medium: screenprint
  • Image size: 50cm x 71cm
  • Paper size: 56cm x 76cm
  • Edition size: 40

Aboriginal artist Banduk Marika was born at Yirrkala mission in northeast Arnhem Land in 1954. Like many other women bark painters in Arnhem Land, Banduk was taught to paint by her father Mawalan Marika, a noted artist, statesman and ritual leader of the Dhuwa at Yirrkala. As a child, she would sit by her father’s side at the beach camp of Yirrkala and watch while he painstakingly covered his bark paintings with the grids of cross-hatched sacred designs of their clan, Riratjingu, in northeast Arnhem Land. This was how she learned the stories and symbolic patterns that are now the basis of her own work.             

After living in Darwin for several years, Banduk moved to Sydney in 1982, where she made her first prints. Since then, she has actively pursued printmaking rather than painting. Her linocuts and screenprints adhere to the pictorial traditions of her clan and include the stories of Djankawu, the Wagilag sisters creation story and the Turtle Hunters.                   

The techniques she uses to cut the linoleum are similar to those used in the layered application of dhulang in bark painting and the incision of designs on wood sculptures in northeast Arnhem Land. Her work is noted for its free-flowing composition.                         

While she lived in Sydney, Banduk also sat on the Indigenous Arts Board of the Australia Council for many years.                                                                                                                     

In 1988, Banduk and her family returned to live in Yirrkala. She manages Buku Larrnggay, the local Art Centre and Museum, and encourages the local artists to develop new enterprises and outlets for their work. She regularly makes trips outside of Yirrkala to work with master printmakers in Sydney, Darwin, Canberra and Melbourne.

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