Other Names: Daymbalipu Gatanikpa
Clan: Marrakulu, Dhurili
Region: East Arnhem Land
Wukun’s father, Mithili Wanambi, died before he was able to learn from him to any great degree. He began painting in 1997 as a result of the Saltwater project in which he participated. His arm of the Marrakulu clan is responsible for saltwater imagery which had not been painted intensively since his father’s death in 1981. His caretakers, or Djunggayi, principally the late Yanggarriny Wunungmurra (1932-2003), transferred their knowledge of these designs to Wukun so that the title to saltwater could be asserted. Some of these designs were outside even his father’s public painting repertoire.
Wukun’s sisters Boliny and Ralwurrandji were active artists for a long time before this but not painting oceanic water of Marrakulu. Ralwurrandji was an employee at Buku-Larrnggay through the 1980’s. Wukun sought education through Dhupuma College and Nhulunbuy High School and mainstream employment as a Sport and Rec Officer, Probation and Parole Officer and at the local mine. He has five children with his wife Warraynga who is also an artist and is now a grandfather. It was not until 2007 that their younger brother Yalanba began to paint.
Wukun’s first bark for this Saltwater project won the 1998 NATSIAA Best Bark award. Wukun has gone on to establish a high profile career.
In 2003 NATSIAA awards, a sculptured larrakitj by Wukun was Highly Commended in 3D category. Since then he has been included in many prestigious collections. He had his first solo show at Raft Artspace in Darwin in 2004 followed by solo shows at Niagara Galleries, Melbourne in 2005 and 2008.
Wukun has been involved heavily in all the major communal projects of this decade including the Sydney Opera House commission, the opening of the National Museum of Australia, the Wukidi ceremony in the Darwin Supreme Court and the films: Lonely Boy Richard, The Pilot’s Funeral and Dhakiyarr versus The King. Wukun is an active community Melbourne in 2005 and 2008. Wukun has been involved heavily in all the major communal projects of this decade including the Sydney Opera House commission, the opening of the National Museum of Australia, the Wukidi ceremony in the Darwin Supreme Court and the films: Lonely Boy Richard, The Pilot’s Funeral and Dhakiyarr versus The King. Wukun is an active community member in recreation and health projects and supports a large family.
In 2008 he was commissioned to provide a design for installation on a seven-storey glass façade in the Darwin Waterfront Development.
He became a Director of Buku-Larrnggay’s media center, The Mulka Project in 2007. In this role he facilitates media projects such as the Nhama DVD and mentors young Yolngu in accessing training and employment in the media center.
Earth Pigments on Bark
Larrakitj - hollow log coffins
Limited edition prints
Artbank brochure 2005
Beyond Sacred - the collection of Colin and Liz Laverty
Catalogue: 17th Biennale of Sydney - The Beauty of Distance, Songs of Survival, in a Precarious Age. ISBN 978 0 64652 794 9
Lonely Boy Richard Dhakiyarr vs the King Djunggawan
The Pilots Funeral
Sydney Opera House, Sydney, NSW
Kerry Stokes Collection
NT Supreme Court-Wuki[i
South Australian Art Gallery
National Gallery of Australia
Art Gallery of NSW
Holmes a Court Collection
Manly Regional Gallery
Musee de Lyon France
Colin and Liz Laverty, Sydney
Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, NSW
Best Bark NATSIAA 1998
Highly Commended (3D Work) NATSIAA 2003
Selected for the curated TOGA NT Contemporary Art Award announcement exhibition July 2006
2007 Commissed by Alcan to provide design for limited edition platter
2007 Winner, Peoples Choice, Togart Contemporary Art Award (NT)
2007 Commissioned Public Art - Darwin Waterfront Development - Convention Center
2010 Wandjuk Marika 3D Memorial Award Telstra NATSIAA