Terry Dhurritjini Yumbulul

223064 Terry Yumbulul Rambila
Rambila by Terry Dhurritjini Yumbulul


Terry Dhurritjini Yumbulul
natural pigments on carved wood
92 x 120 x 47 cm
Stock Number

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the artist

Lauraine Diggins Fine Art, Melbourne

private collection, Melbourne

Further Information

Terry was born around 1950 on Wessell Island off the coast of North East Arnhem Land. He grew up on Elcho Island mission where he attended the local school. Terry is a member of the Warramiri clan whose lands comprise the Wessell islands, the English Company islands, the Bromby islands and areas on mainland Australia in north-eastern Arnhem Land. Terry is the traditional owner to some thirty-six islands, and is a respected tribal elder and prominent community figure.

Terry’s artworks depict creation stories of these areas, and he is the only person allowed to paint certain stories in a special way, according to the tradition passed down by his father and grandfather before him. As the only member of his tribe with the authority to paint all the sacred designs, Terry made the decision to share his rich culture with all other Australians in the hope of reaching a better understanding between the two cultures.

Terry creates his sculptures from local trees (often stinkwood) and his use of canvas for paintings, rather than traditional bark, is a concession to the need for conservation and a more efficient, lasting material. He does however, maintain the tradition of bark painting in his use of natural ochres in the traditional colours of his Warramiri Tribe – red from Wessell Island; yellow from Elcho Island; black from Groote Eylandt and white from a site near Mica Beach.

This sculpture depicts the squid which, as it swims, creates a movement which is represented in the wave pattern in the middle of this piece. The little patterns represent the forming of life and microscopic patterns represent the forming of the reef, which is home to the squid. Further than this, it represents an ancestral spirit being who is a custodian or guardian of the reef who looks out over the reef and protects the area.

Terry is represented in collections both in Australia and internationally, including the Queensland Art Gallery and the Art Gallery of the Northern Territory. He was a finalist in the prestigious Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards in 2007 and 2009.