Skin name: Balang
Peter Minygululu was born in Mirrngatja around 1942. He moved to Milingimbi as a young child, but moved around too much to attend the mission school there. Minygululu moved to the mainland in the 1970s when a settlement was established at Nangalala (an outstation near Ramingining) and worked in housing. He later worked at the Murrwangi cattle station as a stockman mustering bullocky (cattle). Minygululu began working at the Homelands Resource Centre when it first started (as a result of the homelands movement) and settled in Ramingining his mother’s country permanently in the late 1970s.
Minygululu paints the story of his father’s country Mirrngatja, on the eastern side of the Arafura Swamp, Central Arnhem Land, depicting the story of the Wagilag Sisters.
Recurring images in Minygululu’s paintings are of itchy caterpillars and the two-headed snake (Mitukul or Mayku). This two-headed snake is one of the snakes that spoke to Wititj (the Olive Python) and was involved in the Conference of Snakes in the Wagilag Sisters’ Story. This two-headed snake is also represented in Minygululu’s paintings as Mayku the sacred tree at Mirrngatja.
Minygululu contributed Dupan (Hollow Logs) for the 1988 Aboriginal Memorial, an installation of 200 Dupan commemorating the deaths of indigenous people since white occupation. The installation was exhibited at the Biennial of Sydney- Beneath the Southern Cross, before moving to the National Gallery of Australia as a permanent display.
His ceremony is badurru (hollow log), similar to that of the Liyagalawumirr clan. The presence of two goannas entering and leaving the hollow log in some paintings signifies the men’s ceremony Djungguwan, which refers to the origins of some of the clans in central Arnhem Land. The goannas are the ancestral beings.
In 2005 Minygululu made his self-titled character in de Heer’s Award winning film Ten Canoes. The film was a great success and aided in educating the world about Yolngu culture in Ramingining, central Arnhem Land.