The Mellon Indigenous Arts Initiative and the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection will welcome Raymond Bulambula (Wobulkarra) and his wife* for a three-week residency from September 15th to October 7th. Bulambula and his wife are both artists and senior knowledge holders from Milingimbi, a small island off the remote northern coast of Australia where artistic practice inhabits a prominent place in community life. Bulumbula is a painter whose work has been purchased by several major public and private collections in Australia. His wife is a weaver of fish traps, dilly bags, and mats. The couple also works together on joint projects such as making Banumbirr (Morning Star poles). Both artists are affiliated with Milingimbi Art and Culture, one of Australia’s premier Aboriginal art and culture organizations.
For the duration of their residency, Bulambula and his wife will stay at the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection where they will work alongside curatorial staff to ensure the accuracy of cultural records in the museum’s catalogue and to prepare an exhibition of artworks from Milingimbi. They will also visit UVA grounds to lecture on the art and culture of Milingimbi, and they will conduct fiber workshops on-site at both the University of Virginia and with First Nations people in Washington, D.C.
The residency will culminate in an exhibition of new works named ‘Gapu Murnuk’ at the Australian Embassy in Washington, D.C. on the night of the October 3rd, 2017. The exhibition will feature contemporary works including Larrakitj (ceremonial poles), paintings on bark and paper, fiber works, and carvings by Bulambula, his wife, and fellow Milingimbi artists George Dangi, Judy Lirrinyin, Helen Ganalmiriwuy and Margaret Rarru.
This program is made possible with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection, and the College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Virginia. For more information regarding Raymond Bulambula and his wife's visit, please contact Amanda Wagstaff, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Henry Skerritt, Curator of Indigenous Arts of Australia, email@example.com.
*Note: Raymond Bulambula’s wife passed away several months after these events and she is referred to here as ‘his wife’ in accordance with cultural protocols that prohibit the name or image of a recently deceased person from being spoken, written or presented.
Photos: (Top left) Raymond Bulambula, coutresy of Milingimbi Art and Culture; (Bottom Center) Raymond Bulambula works with a UVA art student on a Marratjirri "Morning Star" Pole, courtesy of the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection.