Yarinkura has adapted the fundamental skills of weaving learnt from her mother, including coiling, twisting and looping – processes that may be used to make a dilly bag or fish trap or to create an array of fibre sculptures. What skills have you learnt from a female figure in your family?

Ngalbenbe teaches values, practices and history of Kune culture. Look at the installation and read the story of the work. What are the values being taught? Make a list of all the things that are valued or practised in your school and home environment.

What is the role of Ngalbenbe(the sun) in this story? Why is the sun so important – what is its role in the universe and for planet Earth?

Read a well-known creation story as a class. While listening to the narrator, create an illustration to accompany this story.

Look closely at the Woven figure, 1996, made by Lena Yarinkura and compare this to her collaborative installation Ngalbenbe, 2018. How has Yarinkura’s practice evolved or changed over time? You may also like to look at other examples of Yarinkura’s work held in other collections across the country.

Lena Yarinkura, Kune people, Northern Territory, born 1960, Buluhkaduru, Northern Territory, Woven figure, 1996, Bolkdjam, Northern Teritory, natural ochres on woven (twined) pandanus (Pandanus spiralus) stuffed with paperbark., 118.0 x 47.0 cm; Maude Vizard-Wholohan Art Purchase Award 1996, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, © Lena Yarinkura/Copyright Agency.


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.

Focus on Figures

Look at different examples of figurative works of art by artists who have used textiles or fibres to create their works and compare these to the techniques, materials and ideas used by Yarinkura and Rostron. While they are very different, what similarities do they share? Create a soft sculpture of an important figure in your life. Write a story or creative biography to accompany your sculpture.

Tip

Look at soft sculptures by Yarrenyty Arltere Artists and fibre figures by Tjanpi Desert Weavers. For more check out the resource below.

Sculpture and Sounds

Recall a funny or happy moment you have experienced with your family. Describe the sensory elements – can you feel the sun on your skin or cold wind on your face or can you recall the aromas from the kitchen or sounds from outside? Recreate this scene using sculpture and include a sound element.

Lena is renowned for her fibre sculptures that include people, spirit beings and animals such as the bandicoots and dogs that can be seen in the installation Namorrorddo, 2017, which was made by Lena and her husband Bob Burruwal. In Ngalbenbe, Lena has collaborated with her daughter Yolanda.In pairs, select a children’s book that features animals as the main characters. Select a scene from this book and create at least two sculptures using textiles, fibre and recycled materials to illustrate an important part of the story.

Stars, sun and moon

Investigate other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists who have used astronomy as inspiration for their work. Explore how these artists explain the cyclic phenomena involving the sun, moon and stars in their works of art. Create a work of art that pays tribute to a cyclic phenomenon of your choosing.

Tip

Other artists to start with - Badger Bates, Tjampawa Katie Kawiny, Brian Robinson and Gulumbu Yunupiŋu.

Lena Yarinkura, Kune people, Northern Territory, born 1960, Buluhkaduru, Northern Territory, Ngalbenbe (sun story), 2018, Ankabarrbirri, 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/Maningrida Arts & Culture/Copyright Agency, photo: Grant Hancock.

Getting Started

Learn more about Ngalbenbe (The Sun Story)

Yolanda Rostron and Lena Yarinkura, Ankabarrbirri outstation, Northern Territory, 2020; image courtesy the artists and Maningrida Arts & Culture.

About the artists

Learn more about Lena Yarinkura and Yolanda Rostron

More