Victorian Craft Awards

Damien Wright and Bonhula Yunupingu Bala ga Lili — 'Rom'mirri (Keeper of the Law)', 2021,

Rom'mirri (Keeper of the Law) is a light. His light is from within. He glows as gurta (fire) light bounces off him. His power shows us the way. It's all about balance and being level-level, Ma*

*Ma means "Got it - I don't want to talk about it" ie. Yothu Yindi 'Treaty Ma'


Bala ga lili (Two ways Learning) is an ongoing, circular cross cultural collaboration between Damien Wright of Melbourne and Bonhula Yunupingu Yolngu man of Nth East Arhnem Land. Wright and Yunupingu first met in 2010 when Wright was invited by Gumatj elder, Galarrwuy Yunupigu, to establish a furniture craft studio in his homeland community of Gunyangara, situated near the mining town of Nhulunbuy. Today, they work together to find a sculptural and poetic language through a combination of traditional European joinery and Yolngu craft, to understand and impart their bond. Here they tell a disruptive narrative, theirs is a disruptive relationship. What should look like a contradiction is a promise. What should keep one apart, draws us together.

Wright and Yunupingu are represented by Sally Dan-Cuthbert


Established by Craft Victoria in 2015, the Victorian Craft Awards is a biennial event presenting and celebrating excellence in contemporary craft practice. The Awards showcase exceptional works utilising craft skills, processes and materials and include emerging, mid-career and established craftspeople from across Victoria.  

The Finalists.

Adam Markowitz & Oliver Tanner, Alexsandra Pontonio, Amanda Ho, Ana Petidis, Anke Kindle, Anna Davern, Anton Gerner, Australian Tapestry Workshop & Troy Emery, Beverley Meldrum, Blanche Tilden, Cara Johnson, Cassie Leatham, Christopher Plumridge, Damien Wright & Bonhula Yunupingu, Danielle Thiris, Darren Healey, Ema Shin, Grace Brown, Holly Grace. Iluka Sax-Williams, James Lemon, Jane Sawyer, Jenna Lee, Jennifer Conroy-Smith, Jessie French, Jin Ah Jo, Jo Hawley, Juanita Mulholland, Katherine Hubble, Katrina Tyler, Kirby Bourke (Two Lines Studio), Kirsten Haydon, Kristin Burgham, Lee Darroch, Lindy McSwan, Lisa Waup, Liv Boyle, Louise Meuwissen & Ebony Russell, Marcos Guzman, Mechelle Shooter, Michaela Pegum, Michelle Stewart, Narelle White, Nicole Polentas, Prue Venables, Roseanne Bartley, Samuel Burns, Sara Lindsay, Shimara Carlow, Sophia Cai, Thomas Lentini, Timothy Gresham, Timothy White, Troy Emery & Daniel Poole, Vicki Mason, Yi Jen Chu, Zhu Ohmu. 


Materials:  Gadayka, 10,000 year old Ancient Red Gum, copper wire,


300cm x 100cm x 150cm

Photography: Fred Kroh. Image courtesy the makers and Sally Dan Cuthbert 

Read more about the Victoria Craft Awards and this years judging panel here

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