Date of birth : 1947
Language : Ganalbingu
Clan : Gurrumba Gurrumba
Social Affiliations : Yirritja moiety, Bulany subsection
Bobby was born in his father's country, the Ganalbingu homeland, Ngalyindi. In the 1960s he attended school at Milingimbi Mission. He then worked with his cousin Johnny Wanimalil on the Milingimbi housing team. Before he married he worked as a stockman with Djardie Ashley at Nangalala (1960s) and then later at Murwangi Cattle Station near Mulgurrum. After assisting in a cattle drive from Bulman Cattle Station (some 80-100kms SW of Ramingining) to Murwangi he shifted to Ramingining.
Taught to paint by his father, over the years Bobby has developed his own style which attracted both admirers and critics alike. He reveals the Ganalbingu totems in a new and exciting way.
A song man for his group, Bobby toured throughout NSW and ACT with David Gulpilil in the 1970s and 1980s. The dance group also included painters Jimmy Yanganiny (dec.1990) and Don Gundinga (dec.1990). Several of these trips were organised by then ATSIC project officer Joe Croft and included many Aboriginal communities in their itineraries.
In 1986 Bunungurr’s bark paintings were included was “Origins, Originality, and Beyond”, the Biennale of Sydney at the Art Gallery of N.S.W. In the early 1990s he performed several times with Charlie MacMahon’s band Gondwanaland and sang on their 1994 album.
He and fellow Ramingining songmen Jimmy Djamanba and Peter Milanyga are founding members of the band Wak Wak Jungi. Wak Wak Jungi has performed in many venues around Australia and overseas, and they have released a number of CD's. Bunungurr was a highly collected artist in the 1970 and early 1980s, he veered from fine art production for a time to pursue his muscial career.
In the early 1980s, Bobby worked with Ramingining Prints, the printworkshop that in Ramingining until the early 1990s. During his time with Ramingining Prints, Bobby received tuition from indigenous printmaker and artist, Lawrence Leslie. In 2007, Bula'bula Arts has revamped the Print Workshop and Bobby made a number of new designs. The designs he produced are reflective of themes in the film Ten Canoes. They are about life of the Ganalbingu people of the Arafura Swamp. Bobby played The Uncle in Ten Canoes.
Many of Bobby's artworks feature in the website Twelve Cenoes (www.twelvecanoes.com) and he is one of the singers in the soundtrack.
Select Group Exhibitions:
1984, Objects & Representations from Ramingining, Power Institute [now MCA], Sydney
1986, The Third National Aboriginal Art Award Exhibition, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin
1990, Innovations in Aboriginal Art, Hogarth Galleries, Paddington, NSW
1993, Prints by Ramingining Artists, Hogarth Gallery, Paddington, NSW
1999, Ramingining Artists Show, High on Art, Melbourne
2000, The Bridge: Construction in Process VI, various sites, Melbourne.
2000, Yolngu Science: Objects and Representations from Ramingining, MCA, Sydney
2001, The Native Born: Objects and Representations from Ramingining, Sprengel Museum, Hannover
2002, Ramingining, Arte aborigen australiano de la Tierra de Arnhem, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid
2002, The Native Born: Objects and Representations from Ramingining, Palacio de Velazquez, Parque del Retiro, Madrid
2003, Animals & Spirits, Alison Kelly Gallery, Melbourne, Victoria
2003, The Native Born: Contemporary Aboriginal Art from Ramingining, Australia, Asia Society Museum, New York, USA
2003, The Native Born: Contemporary Aboriginal Art from Ramingining, Australia, Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Taipei, Taiwan
2004, The World of Aboriginal Art and Tingatinga Paintings, The Museum of Fine Arts, Gifu, Japan
2005, Gamununggu Ganalbingu: Ganalbingu Painters, Indigenart, Perth
2005, Pandanus to Paper, Northern Editions, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, NT
2006, 13 Canoes, South Australian Museum, Adelaide
2006, Recently Ramingining, Hogarth Galleries, Sydney
2006, Out of the Dilly Bag and into the Canoe, Brightspace! St Kilda
2006, Many many canoes: An exhibition in celebration of the film Ten Canoes, Tandanya, National Aboriginal Cultural Institute, Adelaide
2006, Bark Paintings, Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne
Holmes a Court Collection, Perth
Hida Earth Wisdom Centre, Gifu, Japan
Kelton Foundation, California, USA
Linden Museum, Stuttgart, Germany
Milingimbi Collection, MECA, Milingimbi Educational and Cultural Association
Museum of Contemporary Art, Ramingining Collection, Sydney
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
South Australian Museum, Adelaide
Mundine, Djon, 2001, The Native Born: Objects and Representations from Ramingining, Arnhem Land, MCA & Bula’bula Arts
Tamworth Regional Gallery, 2004, A Matter of Time:16th Tamworth Fibre Textile Biennial, exhib. cat., Tamworth Regional Gallery, NSW
1993, Honourable Mention for Ramingining Artists, Australian Heritage Commission Art Award Exhibition, Old Parliament House Canberra [artist not named individually]
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