This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

This Vibrant Exhibition Brings Together Traditional Sculpture + Contemporary Art For A Story On Legacy

Art

Brunswick Street Gallery presents ‘Aak Puul: Art From The Wik & Kugu Region’; a bold and engaging exhibition showcasing the strength and unity of Wik Kugu culture. 

In Aurukun, women’s contemporary art is vibrant and bold – as are the sculptures by the men. Together, these groups create works that pay homage to their ancestral past.

You can see these incredible paintings and sculptures at Brunswick Street Gallery from today!

16th September, 2022

From left: ‘Apelech clan’, by Leigh Namponan. ‘Thiikel – Kencharang Croc’, by Keith Wikmunea. ‘Apelech 2/2’ ,by Leigh Namponan.’Minh Nguk’, by Bevan Namponan. Image courtesy of Brunswick Street Gallery.

Senior Wik-Alkan artist Keith Wikmunea painting his dog sculpture, ‘Ku’ Kencharang’. Image courtesy of Wik and Kugu Arts Centre.

Senior Wik-Alkan artist Keith Wikmunea carves his dog sculpture, ‘Ku’ Kencharang’ from Milkwood. Image courtesy of Wik and Kugu Arts Centre.

Senior Wik-Alkan artist Keith Wikmunea painting his dog sculpture, ‘Ku’ Kencharang’. Image courtesy of Wik and Kugu Arts Centre.

Aurkun’s most senior artist Janet Koongotema. Image courtesy of Wik and Kugu Arts Centre.

‘Aak Puul Ngaantam 1’ by Janet Koongotema. Image courtesy of Wik and Kugu Arts Centre.

Senior Wik-Alkan artist Leo Namponan with his sculpture, ‘Ku’ Ngottan’. Image courtesy of Wik and Kugu Arts Centre.

‘Ku’ Ngottan’, by senior Wik-Alkan artist Leo Namponan. Image courtesy of Wik and Kugu Arts Centre.

Emerging artist Devena Wikmunea. Image courtesy of Wik and Kugu Arts Centre.

Senior Wik-Alkan artist Lex Namponan says, ‘Sometimes we use modern paints like acrylic, but mostly ochre. We paint our clan designs too. My clan is the clear water tribe, or “Alalech”, in Language.’ Image courtesy of Wik and Kugu Arts Centre.

Ku’Aak In Keny‘ by senior Wik-Alkan artist Lex Namponan. Image courtesy of Wik and Kugu Arts Centre.

Senior Wik-Alkan artist Lex Namponan with his dog sculpture, ‘Ku’Aak In Keny‘. Image courtesy of Wik and Kugu Arts Centre.

Paintings from left: ‘Waangk Awa’, by Janet Koongotema. ‘Aak Puul Ngaantam 1′, by Janet Koongotema. ‘Aak Awa’, by Janet Koongotema. ‘Aak Puul Ngaantam 2‘, by Janet Koongotema. ‘Waangk Ulke’, by Janet Koongotema. Sculptures from left: ‘Ku’ Aak In Keny’, by Lex Namponan. ‘Ku’ Munyi’, by Bevan Namponan. ‘Ku’ Ngottan’, by Leo Namponan. ‘Ku’ Kencharang’, by Keith Wikmunea. ‘Ku’ Thum’, by Bruce Bell. ‘Ku’ Pii-Wiith’, by Roderick Yunkaporta. Image courtesy of Brunswick Street Gallery.

Bea Taylor
Friday 16th September 2022

Diverse art forms by nine artists from a small and discrete Aboriginal community on the west coast of Cape York peninsula come together in this new exhibition presented by Brunswick Street Gallery and Wik & Kugu Art Centre; ‘Aak Puul: Art From The Wik & Kugu Region’.  

Among the vibrant ochre and acrylic paintings by Devena Wikmunea, Leigh Namponan and Janet Koongotema, are a collection of iconic camp dog sculptures by Leo Namponan, Bruce Bell, Keith Wikmunea, Leigh Namponan, Lex Namponan, Roderick Yunkaporta and Bevan Namponan. 

Through the representation of the unique visual arts practice belonging to the five clans who live on Aurukun, this exhibition aspires to demonstrate to Melbourne audiences the unity and strength of Wik & Kugu culture.

Keith Wikmunea, senior Wik-Alkan artist explains, ‘”Aak Puul” refers to one’s Tribal Country or Homeland. It’s a term that specifically relates to a person’s father’s Country, and his father’s before him. Aurukun’s visual art is intrinsically tied to Aak Puul which finds its expression in an ancient performative cultural tradition of song and dance.’

Keith’s work in the exhibition, ‘Thiikel – Kencharang Croc’ and ‘Ku’Kencharang’ (a large crocodile and barking dog made from traditional body paint designs and ochre on Milkwood) were created to complement a set of striking contemporary paintings by his daughter, Devena Wikmunea.

Together, the bold contemporary art of the women in Aurukan and the equally vibrant sculptures by the men are part of a cultural continuum rooted in the ancestral past. 

Keith says, ‘Before time, our old people carved all their totems including crocodile, echidna and kangaroo. Each carving has a relationship to a Story Place called Awa’. There are plenty of Awa’ across the Wik & Kugu Lands. These places are forbidden to the uninitiated and are considered Ngench Thayan (Sacred Place). The men’s and women’s art forms from Aurukun are all linked to these places. When we carve our totems, we are sharing our stories from these important places’. 

Aak Puul: Art From The Wik & Kugu Regionis open from 15 September to 2 October at Brunswick Street Gallery. 

Learn more about the exhibition here. 

Brunswick Street Gallery
Level 1 & 2
322 Brunswick Street
Wurundjeri Country, Fitzroy VIC 

This Week

Shopping

Sarah Ellison + Pantone Team Up To Create The 70s-Inspired Sofa Of Our Dreams

Meet Sarah Ellison's luxurious retro-inspired sofa, FLOAT, wrapped in its custom Pantone colour; a rich coffee brown called Piccolo!
Christina Karras

Homes

An Elegant Art Deco Apartment Rental With Water Views

Jill McCormick's fashionable home for one, in Sydney's dreamy Elizabeth Bay.

Studio Visit

The Haunting, Shadow-Inspired Paintings Of Melbourne Artist Ella Dunn

How the imaginative banter of two children on a set of swings inspired the artist's latest body of work.

News

Typo's New Homewares Range Has Everything You Need For A 'Big Night In'

The local brand known for their playful stationary and homewares has released their latest range of quirky bean bags, cushions and decor!
Sponsored
2.25

Art

The NGA’s Cressida Campbell Exhibition Celebrates Her Glorious 40-Year Career

A studio visit with Cressida Campbell, ahead of her exciting survey exhibition at the National Gallery Of Australia.

Architecture

A Treehouse Companion For An Architecturally-Significant Noosa Home

An innovative 1983 Gabriel Poole house on the same site inspired this new home by Bark Architects embracing the bushy Noosa landscape.

Shopping

Meet The Business Creating Fully Customisable Furniture Right Here In Melbourne

We visited Zenn Design at their brand-new Melbourne showroom to learn about their bespoke, luxury furniture offerings!
Christina Karras

Interiors

A Vintage Furniture Collector’s Humble Family Home, Filled With Iconic Pieces

IT engineer Trung Tu's Melbourne home hides an enviable collection of designer furniture and art from different eras!
Christina Karras

News

Visit Local Artist Kate Florence's Colourful New Exhibition

See (and shop!) Kate’s abstract paintings and sculptures created in collaboration with Neighbourhood Studio in Melbourne this week.
Christina Karras

News

Step Inside Some Of Tasmania’s Most Unique Homes At Open House Hobart

Your chance to visit Hobart’s best homes and buildings on November 12 – 13!
Sponsored

Interiors

A Contemporary New Home Grounded In An Earthy, Natural Palette

Inspired by his client's extensive art collection, interior designer Brahman Perera creates a stunning, timeless home.

News

An Unmissable Pop-Up This Saturday Bringing Together Melbourne’s Best Creatives!

The exciting 005 Abode pop-up features stalls from makers like Lucy Tolan, Ella Reweti, Fisch and more in Alt-House’s Fitzroy warehous...
Christina Karras

Architecture

An Inside Look At Domain Park: Melbourne’s Revolutionary 1960s Apartment Building

Once the tallest residential building in Melbourne, Robin Boyd's Domain Park (1962) paved the way for a new era of apartment living.

Architecture

The New Australian Housing Company Creating Customisable Small Homes

Dimensions X aims to be the ‘Tesla of housing’, creating energy-efficient, prefabricated homes that can be assembled in just six weeks.
1.58

One Room Wonders

Before + After: An Arty + Eclectic Kids Bedroom Transformation

See how we transformed a simple space into a fun and colourful kids bedroom (in just one week!) with Surround by Laminex.
Lucy Feagins
  4 hours ago

Similar Stories

Creative People

Meriam and Yupungathi Man Chris Bassi On Capturing The Nostalgia Of Home

In her latest column Koorie woman Jirra Lulla Harvey visits artist, Meriam and Yupungathi man, Chris Bassi.
Jirra Lulla Harvey

Studio Visit

Kuku Yalanji Artist Tiarna Herczeg Creates Colourful Maps Of Country

The emerging artist shares how they found their creative voice and intuitive painting style, as their latest solo show opens in Sydney.
Christina Karras

Creative People

Artist and Yindjibarndi Elder Wendy Hubert On Mapping Country + Culture

Our new columnist Jirra Lulla Harvey talks to respected Yindjibarndi Elder, artist, Cultural Custodian and linguist, Wendy Hubert about Coun...
Jirra Lulla Harvey

This Week

News

Typo's New Homewares Range Has Everything You Need For A 'Big Night In'

The local brand known for their playful stationary and homewares has released their latest range of quirky bean bags, cushions and decor!
Sponsored

Shopping

Meet The Business Creating Fully Customisable Furniture Right Here In Melbourne

We visited Zenn Design at their brand-new Melbourne showroom to learn about their bespoke, luxury furniture offerings!
Christina Karras

Interiors

A Contemporary New Home Grounded In An Earthy, Natural Palette

Inspired by his client's extensive art collection, interior designer Brahman Perera creates a stunning, timeless home.

Architecture

An Inside Look At Domain Park: Melbourne’s Revolutionary 1960s Apartment Building

Once the tallest residential building in Melbourne, Robin Boyd's Domain Park (1962) paved the way for a new era of apartment living.

Architecture

A Treehouse Companion For An Architecturally-Significant Noosa Home

An innovative 1983 Gabriel Poole house on the same site inspired this new home by Bark Architects embracing the bushy Noosa landscape.

News

Visit Local Artist Kate Florence's Colourful New Exhibition

See (and shop!) Kate’s abstract paintings and sculptures created in collaboration with Neighbourhood Studio in Melbourne this week.
Christina Karras

News

Step Inside Some Of Tasmania’s Most Unique Homes At Open House Hobart

Your chance to visit Hobart’s best homes and buildings on November 12 – 13!
Sponsored

Interiors

A Vintage Furniture Collector’s Humble Family Home, Filled With Iconic Pieces

IT engineer Trung Tu's Melbourne home hides an enviable collection of designer furniture and art from different eras!
Christina Karras

Architecture

The New Australian Housing Company Creating Customisable Small Homes

Dimensions X aims to be the ‘Tesla of housing’, creating energy-efficient, prefabricated homes that can be assembled in just six weeks.
2.25

Art

The NGA’s Cressida Campbell Exhibition Celebrates Her Glorious 40-Year Career

A studio visit with Cressida Campbell, ahead of her exciting survey exhibition at the National Gallery Of Australia.

Homes

An Elegant Art Deco Apartment Rental With Water Views

Jill McCormick's fashionable home for one, in Sydney's dreamy Elizabeth Bay.
1.58

One Room Wonders

Before + After: An Arty + Eclectic Kids Bedroom Transformation

See how we transformed a simple space into a fun and colourful kids bedroom (in just one week!) with Surround by Laminex.
Lucy Feagins
  4 hours ago

News

An Unmissable Pop-Up This Saturday Bringing Together Melbourne’s Best Creatives!

The exciting 005 Abode pop-up features stalls from makers like Lucy Tolan, Ella Reweti, Fisch and more in Alt-House’s Fitzroy warehous...
Christina Karras

Studio Visit

The Haunting, Shadow-Inspired Paintings Of Melbourne Artist Ella Dunn

How the imaginative banter of two children on a set of swings inspired the artist's latest body of work.

Shopping

Sarah Ellison + Pantone Team Up To Create The 70s-Inspired Sofa Of Our Dreams

Meet Sarah Ellison's luxurious retro-inspired sofa, FLOAT, wrapped in its custom Pantone colour; a rich coffee brown called Piccolo!
Christina Karras

Similar Stories

Creative People

Meriam and Yupungathi Man Chris Bassi On Capturing The Nostalgia Of Home

In her latest column Koorie woman Jirra Lulla Harvey visits artist, Meriam and Yupungathi man, Chris Bassi.
Jirra Lulla Harvey

Studio Visit

Kuku Yalanji Artist Tiarna Herczeg Creates Colourful Maps Of Country

The emerging artist shares how they found their creative voice and intuitive painting style.
Christina Karras

Creative People

Artist and Yindjibarndi Elder Wendy Hubert On Mapping Country + Culture

Our new columnist Jirra Lulla Harvey talks to respected Yindjibarndi Elder, artist, Cultural Custodian and linguist, Wendy Hubert about Coun...
Jirra Lulla Harvey

The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net