Manini Gumana Arnhem Land, NT, Australia, b. 1977


Manini Gumana (b. 1977) lives at her homeland, Gängan, and is a member of Buku-Larrngay Mulka art centre at Yirrkala, Arnhem Land. Her father was a highly regarded leader. Manini is the wife of Garwan Wanambi, an established artist at Yirrkala.

Manini has developed a unique approach to bark and pole painting that epitomises the innovative approach to art among the younger generation of Yirrkala's artists.


She began to innovate from 2012 on. She was the first artist to apply the template or skeleton of the composition using just a marwat or thin brush made from human hair. Normally this was done with an ordinary brush and then marwat used to fill in cross hatch design. She was also the first artist to use no earth pigments in the ground of the painting. She initiated the practice of applying the paint of the design to bare bark or wood.


Garraparra is a coastal headland and bay area within Blue Mud Bay. It marks the spot of a sacred burial area for the Dhalwangu clan and a site where dispute was formally settled by Makarrata (a trial of ordeal by spear which settled serious grievance and sealed the peace forever).


During the times after the 'first mornings' ancestral hunters left the shores of Garraparra in their canoe towards the horizon hunting for turtle. Sacred songs and dance narrate the heroic adventures of these two men as they passed sacred areas, rocks and saw ancestral totems on their way. Their hunting came to grief, with the canoe capsising and the hunters being drowned. The bodies washed back to the shores of Garraparra with the currents and the tides, as the Wangupini followed with its rain and wind. Their canoe with paddle and Makani (queen fish), Minyga (long tom) and Gårun (turtle) are all referred to in the songs and landscape. Makarrata, the ritual throwing of spears at a miscreant of Yolgnu law took place here. At Garraparra sacred trees held these barbed spears whilst not in use.


Garraparra has been rendered by the wavy design for Yirritja saltwater in Blue Mud Bay called Mungurru. The Mungurru is deep water that has many states and connects with the sacred waters coming from the land estates by currents and tidal action.