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Roy Burrunyula

 Other Spellings:       Burnyila 2, Burunyula, Burrnyila, Burinyula
 Other Names:           Malibirr
 Born:                  1/1/1956
 Community Centre:      Ramingining, Central Arnhem Land
 Language Bloc:         Yolngu
 Language:              Ganalbingu
 Local Group (clan):    Gurrumba Gurrumba
 Social Affiliations:   Yirritja moiety, Bangadi subsection 

Medium/ Form:          

Carved and painted hollow log coffin, bark painting, ochres on bark, carving, Acrylic on canvas.

Subjects and Themes:

The Ganalbingu people are associated with the Arafura Swamp and its creatures; geese, crocodiles, water lilies, snakes and fish. Roy’s swirling cross-hatching captures this environment.

Collections held:       

Flinders University Art Museum, Adelaide.

Museum of Victoria, Melbourne.

National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.

The Holmes a Court Collection, Perth.


2006 – Bark Paintings, Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne.
2005 – Gamanuggu Ganalbingu, Indigenart, Fremantle, WA.
2004 – Dupun, Djalambu, Bardurru ? Hollow Logs from Ramingining, Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne.
1995 – The Twelfth National Aboriginal Art Award, Museum and Art Gallery of the NT, Darwin.
1994 – Canvassing, 24 Hour Art, Darwin, NT.
1990 – Ramingining Art, Birukmarri Gallery, Fremantle.

Select Bibliography: 

1992, ‘Aboriginal Art’, National Gallery News, 10th Birthday edition, September/October 1992, p. 5-7.

Discovery Media, Documentation Pty Ltd, and the Australian

Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies


His work was included in several early and important exhibitions of Aboriginal art including the ‘Mulgurrum Outstation’ exhibition in Melbourne in 1983 and the show ‘Objects and Representations from Ramingining’ at the Power Institute of Contemporary Art, Sydney in 1984. As a dancer he has travelled with Aboriginal dance groups through south eastern Australia. In 1985 he lived with the Aboriginal community in Campbelltown, NSW as artist in residence. Roy was also one of the artists to contribute several burial poles, to the ‘Aboriginal Memorial’ an installation made from 200 painted hollow logs, symbolising 200 years of white occupation of Australia, which was part of the 1988 Biennale of Sydney. This installation has since been exhibited overseas including the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg and is on permanent display in the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra. Roy, together with fellow artists David Malangi (deceased) and George Milpurrurru (deceased), sang to consecrate the placing of the poles in the National Gallery.