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Barrupu Yunupingu

(1948 – 06 Dec 2012)

Language group
Gumatj, Arnhem region
Place of origin
YirrkalaNorth-east Arnhem LandNorthern TerritoryAustralia
Cultural origin
Gumatj, Biranybirany/Yirrkala, Arnhem region
Media categories
Sculpture, Woodwork
Materials used
natural pigments on wood

203.0 x 22.0 x 25.0 cm

Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Tony Gilbert Bequest Fund 2013
Accession number
Not on display
Further information

Barrupu Yunupingu came from an esteemed family. Her father was the renowned bark painter Munggurrawuy Yunupingu. Her brothers, Mandawuy (the lead singer of Yothu Yindi) and Galarrwuy (a famed Indigenous leader) have both been Australians of the Year. She is also the sister of Nyapanyapa and Gulumbu Yunupingu, exceptional artists in their own right.

Barrupu Yunupingu grew up at Yirrkala and began working through the Yirrkala printspace in 1996. In 2007 she began painting more consistently on bark and more recently began working on larrakitj (hollow logs). Yunupingu draws on the legacy of her father to create unique works that operate within the strict codes of Gumatj miny'tji (sacred clan designs), yet offer a very individual interpretation of this.

Yunupingu paints with exceptional vigour and conviction, producing striking paintings of Gurtha, the ancestral fire that swept through a huge swathe of eastern Arnhem Land, from Biranybirany to Melville Bay. In these paintings Gurtha and its manifestations as flames, smoke, charcoal, ash and dust are rendered in varying patterns of diamond-shaped miny'tji.

Exhibition history (1)

Fire lady, Alcaston Gallery, Fitzroy, 04 Jun 2012–28 Jun 2012