Mungurrapin Maymuru, born 13 March 1956, is a member of the Manggalili (Yolngu) clan of bark painters, printmakers, sculptors and cultural ambassadors. The Manggalili are a clan of some fifty members whose main areas of land are in the region of Cape Shield in eastern Arnhem Land. The present clan members are the descendants of three brothers Nänyin Maymuru (c. 1914–1969), Narritjin Maymuru (c. 1916–1981) and Bokarra Maymuru (c. 1932–1981). Narritjin in particular played an important role in the development of relationships between the Yolngu and outsiders. In the 1930s and 1940s he worked at different times as a deck hand for Fred Gray, an English pearler who was based in Caledon Bay, and for Wilbur Chaseling, the missionary who established Yirrkala mission in 1935. The earliest documented paintings by Narritjin and Nänyin were produced for anthropologist Ronald Berndt in 1946, and are today in the Berndt Museum (UWA) and in the McLeay Museum in the University of Sydney. However they certainly made paintings earlier for sale through the mission.
Narritjin Maymuru was a major contributor to the Yirrkala Church Panels, the Yirrkala Bark Petition, the Yirrkala Film Project, the Homelands Movement and the foundation of independent art marketing through his shelter on the beach. In many of these important activities he was joined by his brother Nanyin. Their children including Banapana were also key to the prolific production of innovative art in the 1970s by this family. He was one of the lawmen who encouraged art production by his daughters along with Mawalan.
In the modern era Baluka, Naminapu and Galuma each won major awards and established themselves as artists of the first rank. Yikaki and Mungurrapin also made significant contributions in community development.
Works by Mungurrapin Maymuru hang in the Art Gallery of NSW.
Mungurrapin (also known as Graham) Maymuru lives at Yirrkala NT, and is listed as Director of Laynhapuy Aviation Pty Ltd, a private company located in Nhulunbuy, NT, Australia. He has also served as Chief Executive Officer, Miwatj Health Aboriginal Corporation.
At the time he painted this turtle shell he was the trainee Aboriginal Manager of the Yirrkala Dhanbul Community Store where Mr Lundberg was the Store Manager. He later succeeded Mr Lundberg as Store Manager.
Adult turtles are up to 120 cm in carapace length and weigh up to 200 kg.
Meat from Green turtles is still the preferred turtle meat by many Indigenous Australians. In times past turtles were hunted with sharp wooden spears; however in this shell the bullet hole can be seen – evidence of the changing times!
Male sea turtles spend all of their life at sea, the females only come to land to lay eggs. They do this on a sandy beach, crawling to the sand to dig a hole where they lay about 100 eggs and then cover them with sand. The female green sea turtle lays it eggs in the same place as it was born, returning to the same place each year to lay her eggs.