Bob BURRUWALLena YARINKURA, Wyarra Family group Enlarge 1 /1


Rembarrnga people

Bolkjam, Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia born 1952


Rembarrnga/Kune peoples

Mainingrida , Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia born 1948

Wyarra Family group 2010 Place made: Ankabadbirri, West Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia
Materials & Technique: sculptures, natural earth pigments on Kurrajong wood, paperbark and natural feathers

Dimensions: dimensions variable 211.0 h x 190.0 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 2010
Accession No: NGA 2010.1234.A-F.A-G
Image rights: Courtesy the artist and Maningrida Arts and Culture, Darwin


This is a sculpture by Rembarrnga artist Bob Burruwal (b.1952) and Rembarrnga/Kune artist Lena Yarinkura (b.1948) depicting spirit figures – male and female, young and old – standing near their camp dog. The sculpture is shown as an enlargeable image. This work was exhibited as a part of the second National Indigenous Art Triennial, ‘unDisclosed’, at the National Gallery of Australia in 2012. The resource includes links to further information about the artists and the themes of the exhibition and gives information on both artists’ development and a visual analysis of the connection to ancestral narratives. The dimensions are variable at 211.0 cm high x 190.0 cm wide and were made from natural earth pigments on Kurrajong wood, paperbark and natural feathers.

Educational value

  • This is an excellent resource for the Responding strand in the foundation-year 2 bands in the visual arts curriculum as a visual recognition that societies and cultures are represented in a range of visual arts. It can also be used for the 7-8 bands, especially for those content descriptions that refer to considering the broader context of works of art, such as their social, cultural and historical context. It may also be useful for teachers of history in year 3 and 4 particular in relation to content descriptions about the importance of connection to Country for Aboriginal peoples. Celebrating this connection, Burruwal and Yarinkura’s works evoke ancestral spirits.
  • The work is of considerable significance for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures cross-curriculum priority. It exemplifies one of the priority’s organising ideas in relation to Aboriginal peoples: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have unique belief systems and are spiritually connected to the land, sea, sky and waterways.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra