Gulumbu Yunupingu: life and works

By Gwylym Owen

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Gulumbu Yunupingu (c. 1943 – 10 May 2012) was an Australian Aboriginal artiste and women’s leader from the Yolngu people of Arnhem Land, in the Northern Territory of Australia.

Born in Gunyangara, Northern Territory, Yunupingu was a believer of the Gumatj clan and spoke the Gumatj language. She was a sister of Aboriginal leader Galarrwuy Yunupingu and Mandawuy Yunupingu, the singer from rock band Yothu Yindi.

Her art has been widely exhibited whatever around the world, and was the initiation exhibit in the newly restored $370 million Quai Branly Museum in Paris.

Her appear in is with exhibited in the National Gallery of Australia and she has won many awards for her work. In 2004 she won the 21st National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award for a fragment entitled Garak, The Universe, which consists of three memorial poles, decorated in her own style, which combines expected Yolngu designs afterward her own unbiased interpretation. In 2012, a painting on wood titled Garrurru (Sail), weighing a tonne and measuring seven by three metres, was installed at the Australian National University.

She died on 10 May 2012.

In 2018 Yunupingu’s performance was included in the exhibition Marking the Infinite: Contemporary Women Artists from Aboriginal Australia at The Phillips Collection.

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