Marrnyula Munungurr


Other Names:  Watjumi, Mititjpurr
Born: 05/07?64
Moiety: Dhuwa
Homeland: Wandaway
Clan: Djapu, Balamumu
Region: East Arnhem Land



Marrnyula Mununggurr is among the generation of exceptional female artists working at Yirrkala who have been taught to paint by their fathers and grandfathers and are now painting many of the sites and designs that would once have been the sole domain of men. Mununggurr was instructed in painting by her father, Djutjadjutja Mununggurr, and now works closely with her mother, Nonggirrnga Marawili, also an artist. Mununggurr began her career as a printmaker and was for many years the senior printmaker at Yirrkala Printspace. Her attention to detail, consistency in application and clarity of design are informed by this experience.

The strong grid pattern dominating Djapu 2013 refers to the Djapu clan site of Waṉḏawuy. This outstation is surrounded by permanent freshwater and is associated with both Mäna the ancestral shark and Bol’ngu the thunderman. Rains inspired by the actions of Bol’ngu feed the rivers and fill the billabongs, resulting in a rich sea life that is a home for mäna. The grid refers to the landscape of the site, a network of billabongs surrounded by ridges and high banks and also relates to the grid of a woven fish trap set here by ancestral hunters.

Marrnyula Munungurr’s grandfather was Wonggu Mununggurr (c1880-1959), the famous Djapu clan artist and leader who led resistance to incursions on his land before the establishment of the Methodist Yirrkala Mission in 1935.


Australian Museum, Sydney
Flinders University Art Museum, Adelaide
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, ACT
Museum and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory, Darwin. NT
JW Kluge Collection, Virginia, USA
National Museum of Australia
University of Woolongong
Holmes a Court Collection
Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery
The Kerry Stokes Collection