These are Gan’yu (stars). They are the stars that belong to us, the Yirritja people... stars. They are moving across the sky and we are watching them. These stars for us, the Mangatharra (Yirritja moieties). We sing these stars and we cry them. We cry.

Nyapanyapa Yunupingu

Exhibition Dates: 31 January – 16 February 2019

“These are Gan’yu (stars). They are the stars that belong to us, the Yirritja people... stars. They are moving across the sky and we are watching them. These stars for us, the Mangatharra (Yirritja moieties). We sing these stars and we cry them. We cry.

It’s a Gumatj clan song and tears.
Look! There stand the stars. What should we do? Shall we cry?“

Nyapanyapa Yunupingu


Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery is pleased to present the eighth solo exhibition with Nyapanyapa Yunupingu. This major exhibition features her latest abstract and figurative works across a variety of mediums. Yunupingu stands out as one of the most celebrated Aboriginal artists with her extraordinary gift of storytelling.

Nyapanyapa is the daughter of Mungarrawuy Yunupingu whose two sons Galarrwuy and Mandawuy have pursued the struggle for land rights that their father spearheaded until his death. ‘The Djulpan story’ is about seven sisters who went out in their canoe called Djulpan. In the dry season onwards, the sisters go hunting and always come back with different types of food: turtles, ufb01sh and freshwater snakes, and also bush foods like yams and berries. This coincides with the appearance of two related constellations, seven stars that come out together, known in English as the Pleiades. The stars will travel through the sky until the harvest seasonMidawarr is over and they don’t come out until the next season.

Yunupingu’s father told her about these seven sisters in a canoe, and the three brothers who came behind them, i.e. Orion’s Belt. There are special stars in the sky which Yolngu call ‘wishing stars’. They give Yolngu bush tucker and they multiply the food in the sea – that’s why Yolngu are happy to see them. That’s what Yunupingu’s father told her. The Djulpan make it to their home over the Northern horizon and then cook their food. The smoke from their fires is sometimes visible. This may refer to visibility over millennia of extreme events in Irian Jaya such as volcanoes, dust storms and severe bushfires. Smoke or dust from such rare events is also mirrored in certain cloud formations that appear after the Sisters have left the sky. It is only then that the Yolngu of this dimension can set their customary annual cleansing fires. If fires are lit before this, the Djulpan will become sad and jealous and cry. Their tears in the form of unseasonal rain will extinguish the presumptuous fires. 

Nyapanyapa’s famous late sister Gulumbu Yunupingu painted stars, which referenced the seven sisters story. Her work is a permanent fixture in the Musée du quai Branly in Paris. The major proponent of this Yolngu story in art history is Munggurrawuy Yunupingu who painted it on bark frequently. He was a legendary artist and political leader and father to many children, including the seven Yunupingu sisters who created the Seven Sisters Project of large prints in 2011. Both Nyapanyapa and Gulumbu made work in this project but sadly since that time three of the sisters including Gulumbu have died. In picking up the motif of stars in this latest exhibition Nyapanyapa is memorialising her deceased sisters Gulumbu, Barrupu and Djawundayngu.

Nyapanyapa Yunupingu (b. 1945, Gumatj Clan) lives and works in Yirrkala. In 2016, Yunupingu was selected for the 20th Biennale of Sydney: The future is already here- its just not evenly distributed, curated by Stephanie Rosenthal. Yunupingu was also selected for the 18th Biennale of Sydney: all our relations in 2012 by curators Catherine de Zegher and Gerald McMaster. In 2014, Nyapanyapa was included in Ian Potter Museum of Art’s The World is Not a Foreign Land, which toured Australia untill early 2016. Several of her works were selected for inclusion in Yirrkala Drawings (2014) at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. In 2011, the Art Gallery of Western Australia exhibited several works by Yunupingu, including her major light painting animation in the Western Australian Indigenous Art Awards. In 2008, she won the 25th National Aboriginal Art Award and was also selected for the prize in 2007 and 2009. Nyapanyapa’s paintings are held in major public collections in Australia, including National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth and Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin.

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Nyapanyapa Yunupingu untitled, 2018; 1064-18; natural earth pigments on bark; 168 x 77 cm; enquire
untitled, 2018
1064-18
natural earth pigments on bark
168 x 77 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu untitled, 2018; 2931-18; 205 x 82 cm; enquire
untitled, 2018
2931-18
205 x 82 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu untitled, 2018; 3893-18; natural earth pigments on bark; 185 x 80 cm; enquire
untitled, 2018
3893-18
natural earth pigments on bark
185 x 80 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu untitled, 2018; 2616-18; natural earth pigments on bark; 173 x 97 cm; enquire
untitled, 2018
2616-18
natural earth pigments on bark
173 x 97 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu untitled, 2018; 3892-18; natural earth pigments on bark; 190 x 76 cm; enquire
untitled, 2018
3892-18
natural earth pigments on bark
190 x 76 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu untitled, 2018; 4172-18; natural earth pigments on bark; 237 x 85 cm; enquire
untitled, 2018
4172-18
natural earth pigments on bark
237 x 85 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu Untitled, 2016; 1213-16; natural earth pigments on bark; 177 x 58 cm; enquire
Untitled, 2016
1213-16
natural earth pigments on bark
177 x 58 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu Dharpa, 2018; 344-17; natural earth pigments on bark; 155 x 71 cm; enquire
Dharpa, 2018
344-17
natural earth pigments on bark
155 x 71 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu untitled, 2018; 6248-18; natural earth pigments on bark; 229 x 109 cm; enquire
untitled, 2018
6248-18
natural earth pigments on bark
229 x 109 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu untitled, 2018; 4194-18; natural earth pigments on bark; 209 x 80 cm; enquire
untitled, 2018
4194-18
natural earth pigments on bark
209 x 80 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu untitled, 2018; 1304-18; natural earth pigments on bark; 100 x 69 cm; enquire
untitled, 2018
1304-18
natural earth pigments on bark
100 x 69 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu Circles, 2018; 4447-18; natural earth pigments on bark; 194 x 75 cm; enquire
Circles, 2018
4447-18
natural earth pigments on bark
194 x 75 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu untitled, 2018; 6767-18; 223 x 102 cm; enquire
untitled, 2018
6767-18
223 x 102 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu untitled, 2018; 1844-18; natural earth pigments on bark; 223 x 95 cm; enquire
untitled, 2018
1844-18
natural earth pigments on bark
223 x 95 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu Untitled, 2018; 5313-18; natural earth pigments on bark; 192 x 84 cm; enquire
Untitled, 2018
5313-18
natural earth pigments on bark
192 x 84 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu untitled, 2018; 3337-18; natural earth pigments on bark; 189 x 83 cm; enquire
untitled, 2018
3337-18
natural earth pigments on bark
189 x 83 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu untitled, 2018; 1305-18; natural earth pigments on bark; 104 x 80 cm; enquire
untitled, 2018
1305-18
natural earth pigments on bark
104 x 80 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu Ganyu, 2018; 1956-18; natural earth pigments on bark; 109 x 61 cm; enquire
Ganyu, 2018
1956-18
natural earth pigments on bark
109 x 61 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu Seven Sisters, 2016; 903-16; natural earth pigments on bark; 166 x 68 cm; enquire
Seven Sisters, 2016
903-16
natural earth pigments on bark
166 x 68 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu Ganyu, 2018; 2460-18; natural earth pigments on hollow log; 243 x 15 x 15 cm; enquire
Ganyu, 2018
2460-18
natural earth pigments on hollow log
243 x 15 x 15 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu untitled, 2018; 98-19; natural earth pigments on hollow log; 222 x 20 x 20 cm; enquire
untitled, 2018
98-19
natural earth pigments on hollow log
222 x 20 x 20 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu untitled, 2018; 1591-18; natural earth pigments on hollow log; 249 x 18 x 18 cm; enquire
untitled, 2018
1591-18
natural earth pigments on hollow log
249 x 18 x 18 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu untitled, 2018; 1591-18; natural earth pigments on hollow log; 249 x 18 x 18 cm; enquire
untitled, 2018
1591-18
natural earth pigments on hollow log
249 x 18 x 18 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu untitled, 2018; 1591-18; natural earth pigments on hollow log; 249 x 18 x 18 cm; enquire
untitled, 2018
1591-18
natural earth pigments on hollow log
249 x 18 x 18 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu untitled, 2018; 4961-18; natural earth pigments on hollow log; 248 x 20 x 20 cm; enquire
untitled, 2018
4961-18
natural earth pigments on hollow log
248 x 20 x 20 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu untitled, 2018; 5277-18; paint pen on clear acetate; 86 x 62 cm; enquire
untitled, 2018
5277-18
paint pen on clear acetate
86 x 62 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu untitled, 2018; 4304C; paint pen on clear acetate; 84 x 60 cm; enquire
untitled, 2018
4304C
paint pen on clear acetate
84 x 60 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu untitled, 2018; 5978-18; paint pen on clear acetate; 84 x 60 cm; enquire
untitled, 2018
5978-18
paint pen on clear acetate
84 x 60 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu untitled, 2018; 5715-18; paint pen on clear acetate; 84 x 60 cm; enquire
untitled, 2018
5715-18
paint pen on clear acetate
84 x 60 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu untitled, 2018; 4304L; paint pen on clear acetate; 84 x 60 cm; enquire
untitled, 2018
4304L
paint pen on clear acetate
84 x 60 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu untitled, 2018; 5884-18; paint pen on clear acetate; 86 x 62 cm; enquire
untitled, 2018
5884-18
paint pen on clear acetate
86 x 62 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu untitled, 2018; 5423-18; paint pen on clear acetate; 84 x 60 cm; enquire
untitled, 2018
5423-18
paint pen on clear acetate
84 x 60 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu untitled, 2018; 5516-18; paint pen on clear acetate; 84 x 60 cm; enquire
untitled, 2018
5516-18
paint pen on clear acetate
84 x 60 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu untitled, 2018; 5934-18; paint pen on clear acetate; 86 x 62 cm; enquire
untitled, 2018
5934-18
paint pen on clear acetate
86 x 62 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu untitled, 2018; 5595-18; paint pen on clear acetate; 84 x 60 cm; enquire
untitled, 2018
5595-18
paint pen on clear acetate
84 x 60 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu untitled, 2018; 4304I; paint pen on clear acetate; 84 x 60 cm; enquire
untitled, 2018
4304I
paint pen on clear acetate
84 x 60 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu untitled, 2018; 5248-18; paint pen on clear acetate; 84 x 60 cm; enquire
untitled, 2018
5248-18
paint pen on clear acetate
84 x 60 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu untitled, 2018; 5861-18; paint pen on clear acetate; 86 x 82 cm; enquire
untitled, 2018
5861-18
paint pen on clear acetate
86 x 82 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu untitled, 2018; 5398-18; paint pen on clear acetate; 84 x 60 cm; enquire
untitled, 2018
5398-18
paint pen on clear acetate
84 x 60 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu Untitled, 2012; 4304K - AC 5.15 Birrka'mirri; paint pen on clear acetate plastic; 86 x 62 cm; enquire
Untitled, 2012
4304K - AC 5.15 Birrka'mirri
paint pen on clear acetate plastic
86 x 62 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu untitled, 2018; 5330-18; paint pen on clear acetate; 84 x 60 cm; enquire
untitled, 2018
5330-18
paint pen on clear acetate
84 x 60 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu untitled, 2018; 5795-18; paint pen on clear acetate; 86 x 62 cm; enquire
untitled, 2018
5795-18
paint pen on clear acetate
86 x 62 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu untitled, 2018; 5472-18; paint pen on clear acetate; 84 x 60 cm; enquire
untitled, 2018
5472-18
paint pen on clear acetate
84 x 60 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu untitled, 2018; 5618-18; paint pen on clear acetate; 84 x 60 cm; enquire
untitled, 2018
5618-18
paint pen on clear acetate
84 x 60 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu untitled, 2018; 5263-18; paint pen on clear acetate; 86 x 62 cm; enquire
untitled, 2018
5263-18
paint pen on clear acetate
86 x 62 cm