Nawurapu Wununmurra Yirrkala, Northern Territory, Australia, b. Circa. 1952
Nawurapu Wununmurra is the eldest son of 1997 Telstra National Aboriginal and Islander Art Award Overall First Prize winner, the late Yagarriny Wunumurra. He has been trained in the school of this old man (who was the first Aboriginal artist to have his copyright recognized in an Australian court) from an early age at first assisting his father and then, as his own spiritual authority increased, in his own right.
The critic Giles Autey has twice praised Nawurapu's entries to the Telstra National Aboriginal and Islander Art Award in years 1995 and 1997 but he did not win any award. His 2006 entry to this competition was purchased by the Museum and Art Gallery of the NT who hold the awards.
His father was one of the senior Yirritjamoiety elders. Since his passing, Nawurapu has stepped into this senior role with his brothers. With his ceremonial responsibilities he is required to move between the home land centres of the Miwatj region, NorthEast Arnhemland and even beyond into Central Arnhemland. He has lived at Yirrkala, Gurrumurru, Gangan, Gapuwiak and Wandawuy in recent years. After involvement in all the major group projects stemming from Yirrkala in the 1990's his first solo show was at Sydney's Grant Pirrie Gallery in 2004. His sculptural work made a big impact at Bitpit exhibition at Raft artspace in2008. A set of his Mokuy were purchased by the Queensland Art Gallery.
He was included in the major contemporary survey show Optimismat, The Gallery of Modern Art in 2008 and exhibited at the 3rd Moscow Biennale in 2009. In 2010 he won the inaugural 'New Media' prize with a set of film illuminated Mokuy carvings at the 27th National Aboriginal andTorres Strait Islander Art Awards. His bronzes now installed in the heart of Darwin's Waterfront by the NT Government.