Bobby Bununggurr

Bobby is a singer, dancer, law man and advocate for reconciliation. His paintings are an insight into Yolngu life from both the old days and now. As well as being an incredible painter, he has starred in movies and television including Ten Canoes and Black As. He was the recent recipient Taiwan Indigenous Artist in Resident visiting the Taiwan Indigenous Peoples’ Cultural Park, Pingtung, 2019.


No artworks.


Skin name: Balang
Language: Ganalbingu
Dreaming: Yirritja
Clan: Ganalbingu

Born in 1947 with his birth registered at Milingimbii Island, NT Bununggurr was an inquisitive child, constantly asking questions about his culture and art. After attending school at the Milingimbi Mission, Bununggurr worked on the Milingimbi housing team,  as a cowboy/stockman at Nangalala station and later at the Murwangi Cattle Station near Mulgurrum.

Bununggurr’s first exhibition was in 1984 and was entitled Objects and Representations from Ramingining, held at the Power Institute [now MCA], Sydney, NSW. Bununggurr continued to successfully exhibit in over 20 group exhibitions, with works acquired by both private and public collectors.

Bununggurr was pre-selected for the 2013 Telstra Awards, for his painting titled Gurrwilimy Dhawuu (swamp story) depicting swamp life in Ramingining, Central Arnhem Land Bununggurr leant the skills of print making under the instruction of Indigenous artist, and printmaker, Lawrence Leslie. Bununggurr has produced numerous successful prints, commonly depicting cultural stories of Yolngu people. Bununggurr also completed a Certificate II in Visual Art from the Charles Darwin University in 2013.

Bununggurr appeared in the 1967 film Across the Top, a documentary by Malcolm Douglas recording the traditional life in Arnhem Land, the Gulf of Carpentaria and Cape York.  In 2005 Bununggurr made his screen debut in de Heer’s Award winning film Ten Canoes playing a lead canoeist. The film was a great success and aided in educating the world about Yolngu culture in Ramingining, Central Arnhem Land.

A song man for his community, Bununggurr also toured nationally and internationally with David Gulpilil in the 1970s and 1980s. Bununggurr and fellow song men Jimmy Djamanba and Peter Milanyga formed the band Wak Wak Jungi during the 1980s, performing around Australia and overseas.  Bununggurr has also performed several times with Charlie McMahon’s band Gondwanaland, collaborating with them in their 1994 album Travelling.

Bununggurr has played  a part in many projects throughout his career including: music, painting, carving and film.  Bununggurr continues to be a sought after artist.