The Australia Council wishes to acknowledge the passing of respected First Nations artist Ms N. Yunupingu.
A Yolngu woman from Yirrkala in Arnhem Land, Ms Yunupingu’s paintings and prints have been exhibited and collected in Australia and overseas since 2007 and included in major exhibitions including the Biennale of Sydney and Telstra NATSIAA.
This senior Gumatj woman was the daughter of the renowned cultural leader, political activist and artist Munggurrawuy Yunipingu and sister to the late Gulumbu and Mandawuy Yunupingu AC (Australian of the Year 1992). She is survived by her sister Barrapu and brother Galarrwuy Yunupingu AM (Australian of the Year 1978).
Coming from a dynasty of remarkable cultural leaders, political activists, renowned artists and social justice campaigners, she was bound for greatness and did in fact emerge as one of Australia’s major artistic influencers and innovators.
Her solo exhibition at the Museum and Art Gallery of the NT (MAGNT) was game-changing as the first solo exhibition by a First Nations female artist and the Australia Council was proud to support this ground-breaking exhibition.
Earlier in 2021, she won the prestigious Wynne Prize with her painting Garak (Night Sky), which depicted an important Ancestral narrative that she shared cultural responsibility for with her older sister Gulumbu Yunupingu.
Her works are also currently featured at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra, as part of the Know My Name: Australian Women Artists 1900 to Now exhibition.
Executive Director, First Nations Art and Culture, Franchesca Cubillo said.
“Ms N. Yunupingu used the natural earth pigments of her beloved Country in distinct and innovative ways. Generous and unpretentious, her impressive work touched and inspired many both within Australia and across the world. We extend our thoughts and deepest sympathy to her family, friends and the Yirrkala and Yolngu communities of north-east Arnhem Land.”