Look! There stand the stars. What should we do? Shall we cry?

—Nyapanyapa Yunupingu

Exhibition Dates: 24 January – 19 February 2017

“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 season-Midawarr 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, 2016; 3928-16; Larrakitj; 233 x 18 x 18 cm; enquire
Untitled, 2016
3928-16
Larrakitj
233 x 18 x 18 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu Untitled, 2016; 3218-16; Larrakitj; 282 x 22 x 20 cm; enquire
Untitled, 2016
3218-16
Larrakitj
282 x 22 x 20 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu Circles, 2016; 3573-16; Larrakitj; 241 x 20 x 20 cm; enquire
Circles, 2016
3573-16
Larrakitj
241 x 20 x 20 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu Untitled, 2016; 4234-16; Larrakitj; 249 x 17 x 17 cm; enquire
Untitled, 2016
4234-16
Larrakitj
249 x 17 x 17 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu Ganyu, 2016; 2776-16; Painting on board; 167 x 122 cm; enquire
Ganyu, 2016
2776-16
Painting on board
167 x 122 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu Stars, 2016; 2958-16; Painting on board; 170 x 122 cm; enquire
Stars, 2016
2958-16
Painting on board
170 x 122 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu Dharpa, 2016; 3143-16; Painting on board; 122 x 122 cm; enquire
Dharpa, 2016
3143-16
Painting on board
122 x 122 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu Circles, 2016; 4908Z; 135 x 77 cm; enquire
Circles, 2016
4908Z
135 x 77 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu Dharpa, 2016; 4894Y; Bark painting; 102 x 63 cm; enquire
Dharpa, 2016
4894Y
Bark painting
102 x 63 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu Untitled, 2016; 4881G; Bark painting; 126 x 71 cm; enquire
Untitled, 2016
4881G
Bark painting
126 x 71 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu Lines, 2016; 2438-16; natural earth pigments on bark; 192 x 59 cm; enquire
Lines, 2016
2438-16
natural earth pigments on bark
192 x 59 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu Circles, 2016; 621-16; natural earth pigments on bark; 162 x 61 cm; enquire
Circles, 2016
621-16
natural earth pigments on bark
162 x 61 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu Circles, 2016; 651-16; Bark painting; 170 x 51 cm; enquire
Circles, 2016
651-16
Bark painting
170 x 51 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 / Circles, 2016; 4989R; natural earth pigments on bark; 164 x 101 cm; enquire
Dharpa / Circles, 2016
4989R
natural earth pigments on bark
164 x 101 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu Djidni (Sydney), 2016; 4937S; Painting on board; 191 x 121 cm; enquire
Djidni (Sydney), 2016
4937S
Painting on board
191 x 121 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu Untitled, 2016; 2561-16; Bark painting; 204 x 69 cm; enquire
Untitled, 2016
2561-16
Bark painting
204 x 69 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu Untitled, 2016; 1896-16; Bark painting; 265 x 73 cm; enquire
Untitled, 2016
1896-16
Bark painting
265 x 73 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu Circles, 2016; 2358-16; natural earth pigments on bark; 213 x 70 cm; enquire
Circles, 2016
2358-16
natural earth pigments on bark
213 x 70 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu Circles, 2016; 5001M; natural earth pigments on bark; 191 x 74 cm; enquire
Circles, 2016
5001M
natural earth pigments on bark
191 x 74 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu Untitled, 2016; 4995E; Bark painting; 122 x 64 cm; enquire
Untitled, 2016
4995E
Bark painting
122 x 64 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu Untitled, 2012; 4305M - AC 6.8 Birrka'mirri; from the series Sydney Contemporary 2018; paint pen on clear acetate plastic; 86 x 61.5 cm; (framed); enquire
Untitled, 2012
4305M - AC 6.8 Birrka'mirri
from the series Sydney Contemporary 2018
paint pen on clear acetate plastic
86 x 61.5 cm; (framed)
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu Untitled, 2012; 4305L - AC 6.7 Birrka'mirri; from the series Sydney Contemporary 2018; paint pen on clear acetate plastic; 86 x 61.5 cm; (framed); enquire
Untitled, 2012
4305L - AC 6.7 Birrka'mirri
from the series Sydney Contemporary 2018
paint pen on clear acetate plastic
86 x 61.5 cm; (framed)
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu Untitled, 2012; 4305P - AC 6.11 Birrka'mirri; paint pen on clear acetate plastic; 86 x 61.5 cm; (framed); enquire
Untitled, 2012
4305P - AC 6.11 Birrka'mirri
paint pen on clear acetate plastic
86 x 61.5 cm; (framed)
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu Untitled, 2012; 4305K - AC 6.6 Birrka'mirri; paint pen on clear acetate plastic; 86 x 62 cm; enquire
Untitled, 2012
4305K - AC 6.6 Birrka'mirri
paint pen on clear acetate plastic
86 x 62 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu Untitled, 2012; 4305I - AC 6.4 Birrka'mirri; paint pen on clear acetate plastic; 86 x 62 cm; enquire
Untitled, 2012
4305I - AC 6.4 Birrka'mirri
paint pen on clear acetate plastic
86 x 62 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu Untitled, 2012; 4305N - AC 6.9 Birrka'mirri; paint pen on clear acetate plastic; 86 x 62 cm; enquire
Untitled, 2012
4305N - AC 6.9 Birrka'mirri
paint pen on clear acetate plastic
86 x 62 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu Untitled, 2012; 4305H - AC 6.3 Birrka'mirri; from the series Sydney Contemporary 2018; paint pen on clear acetate plastic; 86 x 61.5 cm; (framed); enquire
Untitled, 2012
4305H - AC 6.3 Birrka'mirri
from the series Sydney Contemporary 2018
paint pen on clear acetate plastic
86 x 61.5 cm; (framed)
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu Untitled, 2012; 4305Q - AC 6.12 Birrka'mirri; paint pen on clear acetate plastic; 86 x 62 cm; enquire
Untitled, 2012
4305Q - AC 6.12 Birrka'mirri
paint pen on clear acetate plastic
86 x 62 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu Untitled, 2016; 4923R; earth pigments on paper; 76 x 57 cm; enquire
Untitled, 2016
4923R
earth pigments on paper
76 x 57 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu Untitled, 2016; 4929M; earth pigments on paper; 57 x 76 cm; enquire
Untitled, 2016
4929M
earth pigments on paper
57 x 76 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu Untitled, 2016; 5106-16; earth pigments on paper; 76 x 57 cm; enquire
Untitled, 2016
5106-16
earth pigments on paper
76 x 57 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu Untitled, 2016; 2484-16; earth pigments on paper; 76 x 57 cm; enquire
Untitled, 2016
2484-16
earth pigments on paper
76 x 57 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu Untitled, 2016; 4929U; earth pigments on paper; 76 x 57 cm; enquire
Untitled, 2016
4929U
earth pigments on paper
76 x 57 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu Untitled, 2016; 4929W; earth pigments on paper; 76 x 57 cm; enquire
Untitled, 2016
4929W
earth pigments on paper
76 x 57 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu Untitled, 2016; 4929V; earth pigments on paper; 76 x 57 cm; enquire
Untitled, 2016
4929V
earth pigments on paper
76 x 57 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu Untitled, 2016; 4923U; earth pigments on paper; 76 x 57 cm; enquire
Untitled, 2016
4923U
earth pigments on paper
76 x 57 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu Untitled, 2016; 4923O; earth pigments on paper; 76 x 57 cm; enquire
Untitled, 2016
4923O
earth pigments on paper
76 x 57 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu Untitled, 2016; 4929S; earth pigments on paper; 76 x 57 cm; enquire
Untitled, 2016
4929S
earth pigments on paper
76 x 57 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu Untitled, 2016; 4929N; earth pigments on paper; 76 x 57 cm; enquire
Untitled, 2016
4929N
earth pigments on paper
76 x 57 cm
Nyapanyapa Yunupingu Untitled, 2016; 4923P; earth pigments on paper; 76 x 57 cm; enquire
Untitled, 2016
4923P
earth pigments on paper
76 x 57 cm