LIN ONUS, 1948-1996, Wirrirr Wirrirr (Rainbow Birds), 1988

If you’ve been in Sydney recently you can't have missed Badu Gili (Water Light) - the magnificent art projections on the sails of the Sydney Opera House running since June. 

Living in Melbourne, I was aware this was happening but hadn't taken the time to check it out sooner. I wish I had.

Not only is the 7 minute display absolutely beautiful, mesmerising and moving, but it begins with artworks by one of the most collectable contemporary Indigenous artists - Lin Onus.

And after his wonderfully animated signature lily pads and rarrk fish, what really bowled me over was seeing Wirrirr Wirrirr (Rainbow Birds) - the same work that featured in my June exhibition - included as well.

I would like you to know that this iconic work is available to purchase (see full image below).

And it's an important work for Onus, being one of only a small number of paintings that pays direct tribute to his artistic mentor, the great bark painter, Jack Wunuwun. 

It was painted in 1988, a year after the two artists met for the first time. Regular visits to Wunuwun's community, city-based Onus was soon 'adopted' into the Murrungun clan and bestowed the right to paint the clan’s heraldic cross-hatched designs and certain Dhuwa moiety subjects.

Onus employed this extension of his visual repertoire to depict scenes and images in an intentionally hybrid of styles; the figurative style of European art and the symbolic imagery of Aboriginal art. This he felt was a true reflection of his identity, being born of a Scottish mother and a Yorta Yorta father.

If you're interested in discussing the painting in more detail, get in touch with me on 0421 122 023 or


P.S. If you haven't experienced Badu Gili yet, you can see the full show here:


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