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Gutinarra Yunupinu

Creation date: 2022 Location: Gallery 12
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Gutiŋarra Yunupiŋu, Gumatj people, Maralitja, 2022, commissioned by the National Gallery of Australia, Kamberri/Canberra for the 4th National Indigenous Art Triennial: Ceremony with the support of the American Friends of the National Gallery of Australia with the assistance of Geoffrey Pack and Leigh Pack. Courtesy the artist and The Mulka Project.

Jye Cole Hopkins reading Gutiŋarra Yunupiŋu's words on Maralitja

Hi, my name is Jye Cole Hopkins. I am a Luritja and Warumunga man living on Ngunnawal and Ngambri country. Today I’m reading Gutiŋarra Yunupiŋu’s words as he is a deaf artist who signs in Yolŋu.

'Yolŋu ceremonies have always been and will always be the backbone of my life.

Maralitja is an ancestral being of wisdom and is a powerful leader. Maralitja identifies the Gumatj clan as the people of Biranybirany, the land of the gurtha (the land of fire). When a person passes away, Gumatj men and women paint themselves with yellow ochre and white clay on their foreheads. This represents our spirit-being of Maralitja.

In my artwork my face is painted with yellow ochre. I am the ancestral being of Maralitja. As Maralitja, I am performing the buŋgul of Bäru (the dance of the Crocodile). Bäru comes from the salt water, I come from the salt water.'