Lena Yarinkura is a Kune woman from Buluhkaduru in Maningrida, Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory. In the mid-1990s Yarinkura pioneered a new school of fibre sculpture, adapting the techniques she learnt from her mother, Lena Djamarrayku, to construct sculptural work. In recent years, Yarinkura has connected elements of her practice to realise large and complex multimedia installations that contain characters and events drawn from the cultural knowledge and stories shared between her and her husband.

detail: Lena Yarinkura, Kune people, Northern Territory, born 1960, Buluhkaduru, Northern Territory, Ngalbenbe (sun story), 2018, Ankadbadberri, Northern Territory, pandanus (Pandanus spiralis), kurrajong (Brachychiton populneus), paperbark (Melaleuca quinquenervia), feathers, rocks, sand, earth pigments, natural dyes; Gift of the artist and acquisition through Tarnanthi: Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art supported by BHP 2019, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, © Lena Yarinkura/Copyright Agency, photo: Grant Hancock.

Ngalbenbe (The Sun Story) is an installation created by Lena Yarinkura and her daughter Yolanda Rostron which depicts an important ancestral activity in the cosmology of the Kune and Rembarrnga people of Arnhem Land. The sculptures within the installation are made from pandanus, paperbark (Melaleuca quinquenervia), feathers, rocks, sand, earth pigments and natural dyes. This work tells the story of Ngalbenbe (the sun) and the journey of three fishermen who head out to fish with their walabi (butterfly fish trap).

Inspired by Kune artist Lena Yarinkura, year 2 students from Immanuel Primary School created a wall hanging using colour scheme that represented an aspect of the environment. Students began by watching a video of Lena and her partner Bob teaching about the story of Ngalbenbe. The video shows the artist talking in Kune language, as the children are only year 2, I read the translations to them. I explained that Lena and her partner are Aboriginal elders and we need to be very respectful by listening carefully. Even though we are not physically there I feel it is important to teach respectful manners and acknowledge that the elders are story telling a story that has been passed down for generations.

We looked closely at Ngalbenbe by Lena and brainstormed how the artists might have made this work. Students then chose a pre made loom to begin weaving. This skill was an extension of the skill they had learnt a year earlier in Grade 1, when we looked at circular weaving and the Japanese Story of Tanabata.

Students chose a wool colour to match the element of earth they were representing. We brainstormed what each multicoloured wool could represent such as water, rain, desert, tropical rainforest, rainbows, the sun, land and birds.

- Sharon Lynch, Visual Art Specialist, Immanuel Primary School