Ms Nyapanyapa Yunupingu

1945 - 2021 untitled 2018
  • ochre on stringybark
18 cm x 249 cm

'Nyapanyapa Yunupingu is woman of small stature, but big on style. Her art practice is quite independent of any bark-painting tradition within the Arnhem Land region. She is the daughter of the famous cultural leader Munggurrawuy Yunupingu and sister to Galarrwuy and Mandawuy, both Australians of the Year. She is a widow and was the wife of Djiriny Manunggur, a Djapu clan leader. Franchesca Cubillo, in Undisclosed: 2nd National Indigenous Art Triennial, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2012

Yirrkala-based painter Nyapanyapa Yunupingu is one of Australia's leading contemporary indigenous artists and enjoys an international reputation.

Foremost among the works of Indigenous art in the Wesfarmers Collection are a selection of hollow log poles by artists of Maningrida and Yirrkala communities of Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory. Hollow log poles are traditionally known as Lorrkon in the community of Maningrida and Larrakitj in the community of Yirrkala.

Today, Lorrkon/Larrakitj are made as works of art - but their original purpose is founded in the mortuary traditions of Arnhem Land culture. The Lorrkon/Larrakitj coffin ceremony was the final ceremony in a sequence of mortuary rituals celebrated by the people of Arnhem Land. This ceremony involves the placing of the deceased's bones into a hollow log decorated with painted clan designs and ceremonially placed into the ground where it remained until it slowly decayed over many years. The log is made from a termite-hollowed Stringybark tree (Eucalyptus tetradonta) and decorated with totemic emblems.

© Nyapanyapa Yunupingu, Buku-Larrngay Mulka Art Centre, Yirrkala

More by this artist

Ms Nyapanyapa Yunupingu 1945 - 2021 Some circles
  • Natural ochre on bark
95 cm x 120 cm

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The Wesfarmers Collection of Australian Art acknowledges all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Traditional Custodians of Country and recognises their continuing connection to land, sea, culture and community. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

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