Bulambula was born at Yurrwi (Milingimbi) and raised at Rapuma Island, his mother’s country to the east. His father Djimbun was very old when he was growing up and he was raised primarily by his four mothers and maternal uncle. As a young man he moved to his and his father’s country at Laŋarra (Howard Island – located beneath the southern tip of Elcho Island). Here he learned his sacred stories from his father’s nephews.
Bulambula continues to produce his Mandjikay Wobulkarra clan designs. These designs are connected to various sites on his country, including Laŋarra. He creates artworks associated with the ancestral travels of a trevally which swims across Arnhem Land from east to west, carrying a string that connects several Yirritja clans through ceremony and songline. The dhukurrurru (sacred stone), latjin (mangrove worm and tree), moṉuk gapu (salt water mixing with fresh water), and the warraka (cycad) are amongst the designs that he regularly paints.
Bulambula now lives at Bodiya outstation on Milingimbi Island. He is the senior Djunkaya or ‘ceremonial manager’ of the Mariŋa clans or ‘three tribes’: Gamalaŋka, Gorryindi and Mäḻarra. He produces associated works such as the marradjiri (morning star pole) which belongs to his mother’s side (Gorryindi), the Baṉumbirr (morning star pole) from the Mälarra clan, as well as works referencing the larratitja (barracuda), djanda (water goanna) and maṉba (dolphin).
In 2017, Bulambula visited theKluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of the University of Virginia as a visiting fellow of the UVA Mellon Indigenous Arts Initiative.
Mandjikay – Wobulkarra
Laŋarra (Howard Island)