community: Milyakburra, Bartalumba Bay Outstation
mother country: Umbakumba
dance: Diningwilangwa (Dugong)
"My dad didn’t want to stay in Darwin at the East Arm leprasorium, so he walked to Numbulwar . He slept under trees and ate goanna on the way. It took him a long time to get home, a few months. He stopped in Numbulwar with the Munguwar people for 6 months and learnt their language Wunginpuu. He taught it to us. Maicie Lalara's father brought him back and they made a canoe. When my dad got back he married my mum. I was born in Umbakumba1957 in the old mission hospital. They were staying in Darliga Bay. I had two elder sisters. One day a eagle came and took them both. Took their lives. My mum and dad told me the story."
Elvis Bara, a respected senior artist, assumes multiple roles as an Arts and Cultural Officer, songman, and singer. Growing up in Umbakumba, Elvis now resides between Milyakburra (Bickerton Island) and Bartulumba Outstation. Elvis' artistic practice encompasses painting, carving and printmaking. As a senior male artist, Elvis holds great significance in leading ceremonies across the Groote archipelago and Numbulwar on the mainland. Elvis's artworks beautifully depict his Bara songlines and totems, with the stories of the dugong and West Wind holding a special place in his heart.
As an Arts and Cultural officer with Anindilyakwa Arts, Elvis dedicates himself to the important task of teaching these crafts to others, particularly the younger men.
Elvis and his partner Stephanie Durilla, an accomplished senior artist is her own right, often collaborate creatively on artworks, pioneering new styles. Most recently they have developed a unique form of sand painting. Using a manganese base, reminiscent of traditional Groote Eylandt barks, Elvis and Stephanie create intricate, graphic patterns using coloured sand collected from a special site near the mangroves at Bartalumba Outstation.