Crusoe Guningbal Sculpture and bark paintings
Crusoe Guningbal was an Oenpelli Artist who is best known for his painted sculpture. He was also an accomplished bark painter. The aim of this article is to assist readers in identifying if their sculpture or bark painting is by Crusoe Guningbal. It compares known examples of his work.
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Crusoe Guningbal Aboriginal sculptures are very distinctive. They are all painted red and covered in white and black spots. From the knees down he often leaves the wood either not painted or painted in one color. The same is true in most cases for the hands.
He greatly elongates the body of his figures, with short arms and legs. The head is round with nose and eyes depicted in paint rather than carved. His bark paintings have very similar looking figures. He rarely uses Rarrk cross-hatching or stripling. He prefers to use closely spaced dot art to define his figures.
Crusoe Guningbal’s Mimi sculptures that were
Crusoe Guningbal was born in the Middle Liverpool River region. He spent his early life working in buffalo shooters camps in Western Arnhem Land. During WWII he and other people from his tribe the Kuninjku moved to Milingimbi mission. After the war, Kuningbal returned to the Maningrida region and started to make bark paintings to sell at the local trading post. He later set up camp at Barrihdjowkkeng. He lived here with his wife Lena Kuriniya and raised his sons Crusoe Kurddal, Owen Yalandja
In 1968 Guningbal produced the first of many tall slender Mimih spirit sculptures. These figures were originally used in the Mamurrng trade ceremony but it was Kuningbal who first depicted them in a sculptural form. He was an accomplished traditional singer and dancer. Kuningbal performed with his Mimih sculptures on occasions. He produced these sculptures until his death in 1984.
Guningbal is also sometimes spelled Kuningbal
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Crusoe Guningbal Sculpture and Bark Painting images
The following images are not a complete list of the artist’s works but give a very good idea of his style and variety.