Other Spellings: Bulubulun, Bulun-Bulun, Johnny Born: 1946 Died: 2010 Region: Central Arnhem Land Community Centre: Maningrida Outstation or Country: Wurdeja Language Bloc: Yolngu Language: Ganalbingu Local Group (clan): Gurrumba Gurrumba Social Affiliations: Bangardi subsection, Yirritja moiety.
Bark painting, ochres on bark, colour lithograph, bark coffin, carved and painted hollow log coffin, stringybark canoe. Gumung derrka, goose canoe, lithographic prints, carving, ochres on canvas
Subjects and Themes:
Common subjects are Gumang , the magpie goose, and Garjarr, the water snake, amongst waterlilies in the swamp country at Djilibunyumurr (see P. Cooke and J. Altman, 1982). The Dreaming figure Yangagai looks after this country. His home is said to be Gutitjwirrka. Other figures associated with these lands are Warnyu, the flying fox, Gunungurr, the black headed python, Barnda, the freshwater tortoise, Diljidambe , a brown water beetle eaten by the tortoises and Lidgilidgi, finches. These finches and magpie goose are danced by the Ganalbingu people at Marradjiri (ceremony to celebrate the birth of a child), Djapi (initiation) and Murukundjeh (mortuary) ceremonies.
1977, Completed a mural at the Department of Defence, Canberra.
1993, FAC Darwin Airport Commission-painting on permanent display in Darwin Airport Foyer
1984, Awarded Aboriginal Arts Board Professional Development Grant.
1987, Awarded Aboriginal Arts Board Professional Development Grant.
1991, Full Professional Fellowship, from the Aboriginal Arts Unit of the Australia Council for the Arts.
2001, Winner, best works on bark, National Aboriginal Art Award, NT Museum of Arts, Darwin.
1979, Print Commission, Aboriginal Artists Agency,through the Mal Studio, Melbourne.
1984, Produced a number of lithographs for the Canberra School of Art.
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney.
Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth.
Central Collection, Australian National University, Canberra.
Djomi Museum, Maningrida.
Flinders University Art Museum, Adelaide.
Milingimbi Collection, MECA, Milingimbi Educational and Cultural Association.
Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin.
Museum of Contemporary Art, Maningrida Collection, Sydney.
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.
National Maritime Museum, Darling Harbour, Sydney.
Parliament House Art Collection, Canberra.
The Holmes a Court Collection, Perth.
The Kelton Foundation, Santa Monica, U.S.A.
2005 – John
Bulunbulun & Tommy Gondorra Steele, It’s All About Country, Alcaston
2003 – Djilibunyumurr – Ganalbingu Land, Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne, Vic.
1984 – Christine Abrahams Gallery, Melbourne.
1981 – Hogarth Galleries, Sydney;
2013 – Death
and Life: Rukuny Ga Walnga, Contemporary Arnhem Land Art, featuring John
Bulunbulun, Mickey Durrng, Philip Gudthaykudthay, Nawurapu Wunungmurra,
Anniebell Marngamarrnga, John Mawurndjul, Bob Burruwal, Gulumbu Yunupingu and
Yanggarriny Wunungmurra at the QAG of Modern Art, Brisbane.
2009 – With the Grain, Against the Grain – Paintings, sculptures and weavings from Maningrida, featuring the folloing artists – John Bulunbun, Timothy Wulanjbirr, Tommy Gondorra Steele, Irenie Ngalinba, Anniebell Marrngamarrnga, Emmanuel Wurrkidj, Jimmy Ngalakurn, Aileena Lamanga and Elyssa Cameron at the Mossenson Galleries, Perth, WA.
2009 – Spiral Wind including the following artists: John Mawurndjul, Ivan Namirrki, Owen Yalandja, Timothy Wulanjbirr, Kay Lindjuwanga, John Bulunbulun, James Iyuna, Irenie Ngalinba, Samson Bonson, Joy Garlbin, Aileena Lamanga and Elysse Cameron at Annandale Galleries, Sydney.
2008 – Maningrida Arts , Melba Gunjarrwanga; Tommy Gondorra Steele; John Bulunbulun; Ivan Namirrkki; Bronwyn Kelly; Josephine Wurrkidj; Hamish Karrkarrhba; Susan Marawarr; Belinda Kuriniya; Dustin Bonson; Charlie Nangukwirrk; Stephen Kawurlkku; Marina Murdilnga; Lulu Laradjbi; Frewa Bardaluna; Indra Prudence; Mary Nalmalakka; Bonny Burarn.garra; Cecina Mardjuwa; Yolanda Rostron; Lena Yarinkura; Jorraine Cameron, at Hogarth Gallery, Sydney.
2007 – Sacred Waters, Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne; 24th Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin.
2006-2007 – Gifted:
Contemporary Aboriginal Art: The Mollie Gowing Acquisition Fund, Art
Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney.
2005 – New Acquisitions: Indigenous Australian Art, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane.
1994 – Maningrida Collection, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney.
1993/4 – ARATJARA, Art of the First Australians, Touring: Kunstammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Dusseldorf; Hayward Gallery, London; Louisiana Museum, Humlebaek, Denmark
1993 – Ten years of acquisitions from ANU collection, Drill Hall Gallery ACT;
Ten years of acquisitions from ANU collection, Drill Hall Gallery ACT
1992/3 – New Tracks Old Land: An Exhibition of Contemporary Prints from Aboriginal Australia, touring USA and Australia
1992 – Crossroads-Towards a New Reality, Aboriginal Art from Australia, National Museums of Modern Art, Kyoto and Tokyo
1990 – Balance 1990: views, visions, influences, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane; Keepers of the Secrets, Aboriginal Art from Arnhemland, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth
1989 – Aboriginal Art: The Continuing Tradition, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
1988 – Australian Aboriginal Graphics from the Collection of the Flinders University Art Museum
1987 – Hogarth Galleries, Sydney
1986 – Ramingining Art Exhibition, Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs, NT; The Art of the First Australians, Kobe City Museum, Japan; My Country, My Story, My Painting: Recent Paintings by Twelve Arnhem Land Artists, National Gallery of Australia exhibition at the Drill Hall Gallery, Canberra
1985 – South Pacific Festival of Arts, Townsville
1984 – Christine Abrahams Gallery, Melbourne
1983 – Artists of Arnhem Land, Canberra School of Arts
Moon, Dianne.[curator] Death and Life: Rukuny Ga Walnga, Contemporary Arnhem Land Art, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, 2013.(C)
Butler, R., 1986, ‘From dreamtime to machine time,’ Imprint 21(3-4), 9. (C)
Caruana, W., 1987, Australian Aboriginal Art, a Souvenir Book of Aboriginal Art in the Australian National Gallery, Australian National Gallery, Parkes, Australian Capital Territory. (C)
Caruana, W. (ed.),
1989, Windows on the Dreaming, Ellsyd Press, Sydney. (C)
Caruana, W., 1993, Aboriginal Art, Thames and Hudson, London. (C)
Isaacs, J., 1984, Australia’s Living Heritage, Arts of the Dreaming, Lansdowne Press, Sydney. (C)
Isaacs, J., 1989, Australian Aboriginal Paintings, Weldon Publishing, New South Wales.
Langton, M., 1992-93 ‘The two women looked back over their shoulders & lamented leaving their country: detached comment (recent urban) & symbolic narrative (traditional),’ Aboriginal Art in the Public Eye, Art Monthly Australia Supplement, 7-9. (C)
Aratjara, Art of the First Australians: Traditional and Contemporary Works by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Artists, 1993, exhib. cat. (conceived and designed by Bernard Luthi in collaboration with Gary Lee), Dumont, Buchverlag, Koln. (C)
NT News, 27/12/1993, p. 6.
O’Ferrall, M., 1990, Keepers of the Secrets, Aboriginal Art from Arnhemland in the Collection of the Art Gallery of Western Australia, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth. (C)
Reser, J., 1977, ‘Djakaldjirrparr: explanation of a mural painted by Johnny Bulun Bulun as told to Joseph Reser,’ Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies Newsletter 8, 79-83.
Reser, J., 1977, ‘The dwelling as motif in Aboriginal bark painting’. In Ucko, P. (ed.), Form in Indigenous Art, Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies, Canberra.
Tweedie, P. and Scollay, C., 1979, ‘Art of the Aboriginal,’ Panorama: the Journal of Ansett Airlines Australia 21 (2), 1,4. (C)
Tweedie, P., 1985, This My Country, A View of Arnhem Land, William Collins Pty Ltd, Sydney.
NT News, 27/12/1993, p. 6.