John Bulun Bulun

Lin ONUS: artist

Not On Display

About the work

John Bulun Bulun (1946–2010) was a noted artist, singer and ceremonial man of the Ganalbingu clan. He lived at Gamardi outstation in North Central Arnhem Land. He was the adoptive uncle, or ‘other father’ of Lin Onus, whom was also a much respected artist.
Onus often captured the essence of a person or place in his paintings, as he has done here. This portrait especially stands out as being one of his best – perhaps this is because it echoes the connectedness between artist and sitter.
But the painting also has a serious message. The splintered background features a story/image that Bulun Bulun is custodian for. Regrettably, works of art like the background painting have been copied several times without legal or cultural permission.
John Bulun Bulun
Artist/Maker and role
Lin ONUS: artist
synthetic polymer paint on canvas
182.5 x 182.3 cm
Credit line
Purchased 1990
The State Art Collection, The Art Gallery of Western Australia
Accession number

This is one of the paintings in our collection.


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