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Cover Art: Detail Djardie Ashley, Ngambi gumurr Djalk (Stone spearheads wrapped in paper bark) circa 1984

Paddy Dhathangu (1914-1993), Wititj, Olive Python 1983. Cover image for
The Painters of the Wagilag Sisters Story 1937-1997 © Bula'bula Arts
Collection National Gallery of Australia

In 1991 Bula’bula Arts secured a grant from the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) to produce a book about art and culture from this area. Written by Djon Mundine, Bernice Murphy and John Rudder The Native Born: Objects and Representations from Ramingining was published by Bula’bula Arts and the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) in 1993. The backbone of this publication is the Ramingining Collection which was acquired by the MCA in 1984.

The book provides a well researched insight into the art and culture of the Ramingining region and how these aspects of life are firmly grounded within the natural life cycles of species and seasons. A combination between an encyclopaedia and a coffee table catalogue, the reader will be both informed and delighted by the information and imagery.

In the words of Indigenous leader Prof. Mick Dodson, AO, “This art is far more than just beautiful. (It) is the evidence of a living Indigenous culture – a living system of people and their country. The art works are not simply art, disconnected from the rest of life. They exist because the people who created them live in a special relationship with their environment, and their art comes directly out of that environment.” (p.6) Bula’bula Arts continues to support authors and academics through access to the intellectual property of the organisation and facilitates meetings between researchers and the artists we represent. In this sense, Bula’bula Arts members have contributed to many publications about themselves and their art.

Such publications include:

Spirit in Land: Bark Paintings from Arnhem Land, by Judith Ryan and published by the National Gallery of Victoria in 1990

Dreamings: The Art of Aboriginal Australia, edited by Peter Sutton and published by Viking Press in 1988

Aratjara: Art of the First Australians, produced by Bernhard Luthi and the Aboriginal Arts Unit of the Australia Council, published in 1993 by Kunstammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Dusseldorf

The Painters of the Wagilag Sisters Story 1937-1997, edited by Wally Caruana and Nigel Lendon, published by The National Gallery of Australia in 1997

Aboriginal Australians: Spirit of Arnhem Land, by Penny Tweedie, published in 1988 by New Holland Publishers

The Art of George Milpurrurru, by George Milpurrurru and Gladys Getjpulu, published by the National Gallery of Australia in 1993, to accompany Milpurrurru’s solo show.