Gulumbu Yunupiŋu | Stars

Gulumbu Yunupiŋu

Stars, 2009

Ganyu'

Clan

Gumatj

Songline

Djulpan | The Seven Sisters

"This is not a sacred story. This is a story for everybody to see. It refers to Djurrpun, the Evening Star that my father [Mungurrawuy Yunupiŋu] used to sing as it rose just after dusk. And as a child I remember those stories of Djurrpun. But Djurrpun is a sacred story that belongs not just to the Gumatj, but to other clans. And so I have taken any miny'tji or sacred design out of this, and just left myself with the stars. And I am thinking that the people, the millions and billions of people in the world are, you know, just sitting there looking at the stars and think, 'Well how can we be separate if we're all under the same stars? We are like the stars, in that there are as many stars as there are people.'"

– GULUMBU YUNIPIŊU

More Info

The infinite reaches of space are a primary inspiration for Gulumbu Yunupiŋu, whose first depictions of stars date to 1999. Stars are frequently found in Yolngu ceremonial painting and relate to two significant ancestral narratives: the sisters Guthayguthay and Nhayay who became stars in the Milky Way and the seven sisters who traveled by a canoe, named Djulpan. Both stories were taught to Yunupingu by her father, Mungurruway Yunupiŋu. Rather than literally depict these narratives, the artist conceives the stars as a metaphor for the unity of humanity: “We are just like the stars. All gathered close together. We are really as one like the stars.”

This painting was selected as a finalist in the 2009 Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award.


– Henry Skerritt

Additional Information

Decade

2009

Medium

Natural pigments on eucalyptus bark

Dimensions (IN)

63 3/8 x 27 5/8

Dimensions (CM)

161 x 70

Credit

Collection of Fondation Opale, Lens, Switzerland

Narrative

Gumatj

The Gumatj clan belongs to the Yirritja moiety. Spiritual themes include Gurtha, the ancestral bushfire...

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Songline

Djulpan | The Seven Sisters

The Djulpan, the Seven Sisters, are one of the first creations. They are an important...

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Location

2000s

The 2000s saw Buku-Larrŋgay Mulka rise to be one of the most successful Indigenous arts...

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About The Artist(s)

Clan

Gumatj

Artist Dates

c.1943-2012

Gulumbu Yunupiŋu

Renowned as a traditional healer, Gulumbu Yunupiŋu was one of the leaders in a movement of women artists at Yirrkala who moved away from painting sacred clan designs. In 2004, she was awarded first prize at the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards, and in 2006, she was one of eight artists whose work was incorporated into the design for the Musée du quai Branly in Paris.

Collections Represented