Mulkun Wirrpanda Dhuḏi-Djapu, Dha-malamirr, b. 22/05/1942

 

Mulkun Wirrpanda is a senior female artist for the Dhuḏi-Djapu clan from Dhuruputjpi. She is a daughter of the late Dhåkiyarr Wirrpanda and widow to Wakuthi Marawili, a Maḏarrpa clan leader who lived at Yilpara until his death in mid-2005. She is also mother (by kinship) to senior artist and clan leader Djambawa Marawili.

Mulkun paints Dhuḏi-Djapu miny'tji (sacred design) that depicts her land at Dhuruputjpi. As the eldest and most knowledgeable of her clan, she is acknowledged as a leader. Mulkun is one of the few Yolŋu women to have this status. Mulkun was an early practioner of works without figurative imagery within the miny'tji (sacred clan design). Until recently the painting of this 'raw' miny'tji was restricted to ceremonial use. The work is always done using natural earth pigments (ochres). Yalata and Darraŋgi are areas she usually paints, which are at her clan estate Dhuruputjpi, where she resides. Mulkun paints on bark, ḻarrakitj (memorial poles) and yiḏaki (didjeridus) and is a talented carver, weaver and print maker. Her work has been exhibited throughout Australia and in Asia. From 2012 she began a phase where the ar st of her own mo on explored lesser known plant species which she feared were being forgo en by younger genera ons. This coincided with ar st John Wolseley’s interest in returning to Yilpara (a er they had met during the Djalkiri project of 2010) and the two spent an extended period exploring the botany of Blue Mud Bay. She wants to renew the knowledge of these plants because when she was young this is the food that she grew up on. In those days old people lived for a long me without illness. John Wolesley spent a week at Yilpara with Mulkun in May 2012 and again at Yirrkala in June 2013, with further visits in 2014 and 2015.