Bala Ga’ Lili

Two Ways Learning

Bala Ga’ Lili (Two Ways Learning) is an ongoing, circular cross cultural collaborative project between Damien Wright of Melbourne and Bonhula Yunupiŋu, Yolŋgu man of North East Arnhem Land. Our task is to find a sculptural and poetic language through a combination of traditional European joinery and Yolŋgu craft skill, to understand and impart our bond. Here we tell a disruptive narrative, ours is a disruptive relationship. What should look like a contradiction is a promise. What should keep us apart, draws us together.

Bonhula Yunupiŋu and I met in 2010. We worked together on his home of Gunyangara in North East Arnhem land setting up a furniture workshop for his Gumatj clan. Dharpa Djama Studio. (Wood work studio) We became family. Inevitably I had to return to Melbourne and we parted ways. Bonhula and I were not done. He came to Melbourne regularly and we would work together under the notion of Bala Ga’ Lili (Two Ways Learning). We produced works in wood, in Eucalyptus, that reflected us, that are us. We are the subject of our examination of our collaboration. The work is very personal. It is of and about us. About two men of vastly different backgrounds moving through life together.

Bernie Wright