Born 1952, Bolkjam, Arnhem Land, Northern Territory. Rembarrnga man of the Balngarra clan. Lives and works Ankabadbirri, Arnhem Land
Bob Burruwal is an important ceremonial and song man and a painter, sculptor and fibre artist who makes bark paintings, carved wooden and sculpted fibre figurative objects, and ceremonial objects including armbands and string belts. He is known for his carvings of Wurlga and Wurum (fish-increasing) spirits, objects that are related to certain sites within his clan lands.
Since they married in the 1980s, Burruwal has often collaborated with his wife, Lena Yarinkura, on projects such as the 2nd National Indigenous Art Triennial, unDisclosed, at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, in 2012, using materials sourced from their homelands at Bolkjam.
Burruwal has featured in solo and group exhibitions both nationally and internationally over the past four decades, including Gungamuk: Bob Burruwal and Lena Yarinkura, Sheahan Galleries, Thirroul, NSW (2010); Interwoven, Indigenart, Perth (2008); Bob Burruwal and Lena Yarinkura, Annandale Galleries, Sydney (2004); Organic Forms in Fibre, Aboriginal & Pacific Art, Sydney (2003); Arnhem Land Carvings and Bark Paintings, Hogarth Galleries, Sydney (2001); and Organic Forms, Aboriginal & Pacific Art, Sydney (1999). His selected major exhibitions include the Peter Bailie Art Award, Flinders University City Gallery, Adelaide (2006); Maningrida Threads: Aboriginal Art from the Maningrida Collection, MCA, Sydney (2003); Wild Nature in Contemporary Australian Art and Craft, JamFactory Contemporary Craft and Design, Adelaide (2002); In the Heart of Arnhem Land: Myth and the Making of Contemporary Aboriginal Art, Musée de l’Hôtel-Dieu, Mantes-la-Jolie, France (2001); Metamorphosis: Contemporary Australian Aboriginal Photography and Sculpture, Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi at the 47th Venice Biennale (1997); and Aboriginal Art at the Top: A Regional Exhibition, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin (1982).
Burruwal’s work is held in Australian public and private collections, including the Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide; Australian National Maritime Museum, Sydney; Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin; Museum Victoria, Melbourne; National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; and Powerhouse Museum, Sydney. His work is also held in overseas collections, including the Musée des Confluences, Lyon, France and Museum of Contemporary Aboriginal Art, Utrecht, the Netherlands.