Words: Erin Irwin
Melbourne’s Tolarno Galleries have announced the newest addition to their artist lineup is to be Guruwuy Murrinyina, who is currently based in Gangan, a remote part of the Northern Territory. Daughter of award-winning artist Malaluba Gumana, Murrinyina has nurtured a style that calls upon her mother’s practice whilst forging its own aesthetic path. The artist took a break from artmaking after the sudden death of her mother in 2020, but has now returned to her work, painting on stringybark, hard board and larrakitj (memorial poles).
The Country upon which Murrinyina lives informs her artmaking, with the artist often focusing on a motif of Water Lilies, or Dhatam in Yolŋu Matha language. In amongst the delicate leaves and petals of her lilies stirs Wititj (olive python) – the Rainbow Serpent that lives amongst the deep waterholes near her town. As Wititj moves amongst the water, the ripples disturb the water, represented in Murrinyina’s work as delicate repeating lines.
Using natural earth pigments and a thin brush made from human hair, the artist creates delicate, meticulously precise works that capture both the natural beauty of her surroundings and the shimmering power of the Rainbow Serpent.
Tolarno Galleries will be presenting works by Murrinyina in early 2024.
This article was posted 6 December 2023.
Image: Guruwuy Murrinyina next to her bark painting Dhatam, 2023. Courtesy: the artist, Buku-Larrŋgay Mulka Centre, and Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne.