A new exhibition, which opened at the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection on Tuesday, August 28, features a painting by Yolngu artist Munggurawuy Yunupingu depicting Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landing on the moon. Armstrong passed away on August 25 at the age of 82. The painting was commissioned by Geoff Woods, superintendent at the Weapons Research Centre at Gove in Northeast Arnhem Land at the time of the moon landing. Yunupingu, who was the leader of the Gumatj people, lived in nearby Yirrkala and painted a number of themes including the stars in the night sky.
The painting of the moon landing shows two astronauts in the center of the work. Their space ship is portrayed in the shape of an airplane. A half circle represents the moon. The surrounding figures resemble characters in other paintings by Yunupingu such as the Eaglehawk Men and the Flying Fox Girls, pictured in Helen Groger-Wurm’s Australian Aboriginal Bark Paintings and their Mythological Interpretations (1973).
Yunupingu’s painting is included in a permanent exhibition of work from the Kluge-Ruhe Collection titled Past Forward >> Contemporary Aboriginal Art. The Kluge-Ruhe Collection will celebrate the exhibition opening with a reception on Friday, September 14 from 5:30 – 7:30 pm.