Rirratjingu Larrakitj

Photo: iocolor, Seattle

Rirratjingu Larrakitj


Wanyubi Marika

Australian Aboriginal, Rirratjingu clan, Yilpara (Baniyala), Northeast Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, born 1967

Veils of finely rendered white lines have taken over this pole to obscure any direct figural representation. This is makes that the sacred clan signature appear prominent, while also concealing deeply held inside knowledge. When asked what this new style is to be called, artist Wanyubi Marika responded "buwayak," which is roughly translated as "invisibility"- to fade, become indistinct, dissolve or disappear.

Wanyubi Marika has joined several young artists in pursuit of new ways to overcome difficulties in painting for an outside audience. His father taught him how to and what to paint, and he began his first bark painting for the public realm in 2002.

Natural pigments on hollow eucalyptus log
114 3/16 x 9 13/16 in. (290 x 25 cm)
Gift of Margaret Levi and Robert Kaplan, in honor of the 75th Anniversary of the Seattle Art Museum
Provenance: Artist represented by (and acquired by Kaplan-Levi's at): Buku Larrngay Mulka (A Division of Yirrkala Dhanbul Community Association Incorporated)
Photo: iocolor, Seattle
Now on view at the Seattle Art Museum


Exhibition HistoryCanberra, Australia, The Australian National University, Drill Hall Gallery, Abstractions, Oct. 2- Nov. 9 , 2003.

Sydney, Australia, Annandale Galleries, Buwayak, Apr. 10 - May 17, 2003 (Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, Sorry Business, July 30, 2001 - Jan. 2, 2006).

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, Ancestral Modern: Australian Aboriginal Art from the Kaplan & Levi Collection, May 31 - Sept. 12, 2012 (Nashville, Tenessee, Frist Center for the Visual Arts, June 23 - Oct. 15, 2017; Madison, Wisconsin, Chazen Museum of Art, University of Wisconsin, Jan. 26 - Apr. 22, 2018; Austin, Texas, Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas, June 3 - Sept. 9, 2018; Whistler, British Columbia, Canada, Audain Art Museum, Oct. 5, 2018 - Jan. 28, 2019). Text by Pamela McClusky, Wally Caruana, Lisa Graziose Corrin, and Stephen Gilchrist. Cat. no. 47, p. 144, reproduced.
Published ReferencesMcClusky, Pam ed., Ancestral Modern: Australian Aboriginal Art, Seattle: Seattle Art Museum / New Haven: Yale University Press, 2012

Abstractions companion website:

Ishikawa, Chiyo, ed. A Community of Collectors: 75th Anniversary Gifts to the Seattle Art Museum, Seattle: Seattle Art Museum, 2007, illus. p. 86

Seattle Art Museum respectfully acknowledges that we are on Indigenous land, the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people. We honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future.

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