top of page
Girringun text logo.png
Our Exhibitions

MELBOURNE.- Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre at Melbourne Museum presents Manggan – gather, gathers, gathering - the first national touring exhibition of contemporary works by award-winning artists from Far North Queensland's Girringun Aboriginal Arts Centre.

Connection to country and traditional culture is at the core of this project, aimed at growing awareness of a unique group of Aboriginal people in the wet and dry tropics region of Far North Queensland. The nineteen Girringun artists’ superbly handcrafted works are displayed alongside collection objects and reproductions of historic photographs from the South Australian Museum. Together, they provide a unique opportunity for Melbourne audiences to engage with the distinctive Aboriginal rainforest art traditions and culture of the Girringun region.


Small basket (Jawun), artist unknown, date: 1890s. Plant fibre, plant fibre string with natural red ochre. Courtesy of South Australian Museum.

Our Installations
Cairns P.A.C.

Bagu installation, Cairns Performing Arts Centre

Girringun artists showcase extraordinary sculptural Bagu installation

Nine Girringun artists have completed an extraordinary outdoor installation of five sculptural Bagu, as part of a commission from the Cairns Performing Art Centre. Artists Clarence Kinjun, Emily and Debra Murray, Nephi and Philip Denham, Sally and John Murray and Eileen Tep and Melanie Muriata worked over a number of months to complete the works. They were privileged to work with local fabricator and master form maker Leon Ruedin during this process. Based on the ‘match sticks’ of the rainforest, the traditional fire-making tools of the Girringun region, these enormous Bagu have designs which reference traditional patterns and colours.  Patterns such as these, were a form of signature, a way to identify the maker and their cultural connections. Very strict protocols were and still are relevant to who can use the traditional patterns and the associated storylines.

Fire was a very important part of daily life for the old people and these objects, the Bagu, were imbued with other significances beyond the use value of the tool to make fire. Fire, in the wettest place of Australia, was key to survival, central to social interaction, belief systems, hunting, food preparation, tool making, warmth, safety and for ceremony. By taking these figures back from the anthropological gaze and placing them into a contemporary and public space, the artists are re-claiming what has always been theirs, investing new stories and meaning to objects which have a continuum of tens of thousands of years.



Sally Murray & John Murray work together on large Bagu for Cairns Performing Arts Centre. Image: Girringun Aboriginal Art Centre

bottom of page