Billy Durbuma Black (b 1955) is known for his depiction of the Murrungun Morning Star story and the illustration of animal totems such as the Blackheaded Python, Longneck Tortoise, Butterflies and Sawfish. Born in 1954 in Central Arnhem Land, Black was taught the art of painting by his father.
Particularly known for his sculptures of the forest mokuy, a devil like ,Black’s sculptures received an Honourable Mention in the Australian Heritage Commission Art Award in 1993, held at Old Parliament House, Canberra. Black created four Dupan (Hollow Logs) for the renowned 1988 Aboriginal Memorial, an installation commemorating the deaths of all indigenous people since white occupation. The installation was exhibited at the Biennial of Sydney Beneath the Southern Cross,
before moving to the National Gallery of Australia as a permanent display.
Black appeared in the 1967 film Across the Top a documentary by Malcolm Douglas recording the traditional life in Arnhem Land, the Gulf of Carpentaria and Cape York. In 2005 Black made his screen debut in De Heer’s award winning film Ten Canoes playing one of the lead canoeists. The film was a great success and aided in educating the world about the Yolngu culture in Ramingining, Central Arnhem Land. Black was also mentioned in the 2005 Sixth Annual Smart Art Survey, as featured in Australian Art Collector (Issue 33, p. 117).
Noted art critic Patrick Hutchings, nominated Billy Black for inclusion in this national survey of highly recommended artists.
(c) Info courtesy Bula Bula artists, Ramingining NT