An image of Mayilimiriw

Nyapanyapa Yunupingu

(Australia circa 1945 – )

Biranybirany (Caledon Bay), Arnhem region
Language group
Gumatj, Arnhem region


Yiribana Gallery
Further information

Nyapanyapa Yunupingu is perhaps the most influential artist working at Yirrkala today who has distinguished herself by deliberately avoiding the clan stories and designs she has inherited to create works that explore aspects of the everyday and the process of making art itself.

The larrakitj (hollow log) 'Mayilimiriw' is drawn from Yunupingu's 'mayilimiriw’'series, which can be directly translated as 'meaningless'. Yunupingu has used this title for a series of works she has produced since 2009 and in which she jokingly counteracts the almost accepted convention of meaning being embedded within Yolngu art. Indeed this is the norm and Yunupingu is perhaps the first Yolngu artist to consciously eliminate this aspect from her work allowing her to more freely focus on line, form and colour. However, in doing this she refers to the process of painting with natural pigments and the application of cross-hatching, which she renders in an energetic and rhythmic manner.

Yunupingu's style of painting is in stark contrast to the highly geometric works being produced by most artists working through Yirrkala today and to the tightly composed paintings produced by artists in the past such as Yunupingu's father, Munggurrawuy Yunupingu.

Place of origin
Yirrkala, North-east Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia
Cultural origin
Gumatj/Arnhem region
Sculpture, Woodwork
natural pigments on wood
222.0 x 12.0 x 12.0 cm
Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.

Tony Gilbert Bequest Fund 2013
Accession number
© Nyapanyapa Yunupingu, courtesy Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Art Centre, Yirrkala