Wukun Wanambi Australian, Gurka’wuy, b. 1962
Wukun’s father, Mithili Wanambi, died before he was able to learn from him to any great degree. He began painting in1997as a result of the Saltwater project in which he participated. His arm of the Marrakulu clan is responsible for saltwater imagery which had not been painted intensively since his father’s death in1981.His caretakers,or Djunggayi, principally the late Yanggarriny Wunungmurra (1932-2003), transferred their knowledge of these designs to Wukun so that the title to saltwater could be asserted. Some of these designs were outside even his father’s public painting repertoire. Wukun’s sisters Boliny and Ralwurrandjiwere active artists for a long time before this but not painting oceanic water of Marrakulu. Ralwurrandji was an employee at Buku-Larrnggay through the1980’s. Wukun sought education through Dhupuma College and Nhulunbuy High School and mainstream employment as a Sport and Recreation Officer, Probation and Parole Officer and at the local mine. He has five children with his wife Warraynga who is also an artist and is now a grandfather. It was not until 2007 that their younger brother Yalanba began to paint. Wukun’s first bark for this Saltwater project won the1998 NATSIAA Best Bark award. Wukun has gone on to establish a high profile career. In 2003 NATSIAA awards, a sculptured larrakitj by Wukun was Highly Commended in 3D category. Since then he has been included in many prestigious collections. He had his first solo show at Raft Artspace in Darwin in 2004 followed by solo shows at Niagara Galleries, Melbourne in 2005 and 2008. Wukun has been involved heavily in all the major communal projects of this decade including the Sydney Opera House commission, the opening of the National Museum of Australia, the Wukidi ceremony in the Darwin Supreme Court and the films: Lonely Boy Richard, The Pilot’s Funeral and Dhakiyarr versus The King. Wukun is an active community member in recreation and health projects and supports a large family.In 2008 he was commissioned to provide a design for installation on a seven-storey glass façade in the Darwin Waterfront Development. He became a Director of Buku-Larrnggay’s media centre, The Mulka Project in 2007. In this role he facilitates media projects such as the Nhama DVD and mentors young Yolngu in accessing training and employment in the media centre.He is often required to travel within Australia and overseas to present films, participate in festivals, academic conferences, collaborations and exhibitions. His work is in The British Museum. He won the 3D prize in NATSIAA in 2010 and 2018.