Death and Life: Rakuny Ga Walnga: Contemporary Arnhem Land Art

Galleries 3.1 & 3.2, Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA)

Belief in the circulatory nature of death and life is integral to Arnhem Land art. ‘Death and Life: rakuny ga walnga’ — the Gallery’s first Collection-based exhibition dedicated to contemporary art from Arnhem Land — features bark paintings, hollow log memorial poles, sculptures and weavings that embody this idea.

Art Exhibition previously on at Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) in Brisbane precinct, Queensland, Australia.
From Saturday 25 May 2013 to Sunday 01 September 2013

Burrut’tji (lightning serpent) image

Published by GAGOMA on Monday 22 April 2013.
Contact the publisher.

The arrangement of works reflects artists’ clan affiliations and languages, as well as their connections with particular tracts of country, ranging from east to west Arnhem Land.

In Arnhem Land, elaborate patterns painted on the body affirm identity throughout life, and may even be painted on coffins or log memorial poles. In the exhibition, bark paintings and poles are paired through the designs reflecting this customary practice.

In eastern Arnhem Land, Yirritja moiety death rituals often include yingapungapu, a stylised canoe form sculpted from sandy soil. A yingapungapu sand sculpture — ceremonially installed in the gallery space by artists from Yirrkala — is the centrepiece of ‘Death and Life’.