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Ms D Yunupiŋu

Yirrkala, NT

"These are my granddaughters swimming around the rock Yunupi?u just like I used to do. This is our family rock. Our foundation. Mermaids are special to me because this is how my unborn spirit announced itself to my father."

About the Artist

Ms D Yunupiŋu

Ms D. Yunupi?u (1945�2022) was a senior Yol?u Elder and artist based in Yirrkala in East Arnhem Land. Born on Inglis Island, she was one of the significant matriarchs of the Yol?u community.

Ms D. Yunupi?u painted the story of her conception as a spiritual mermaid, which was revealed to her father in a dream before she was born. Her portrayal of a family of mermaids marked a stylistic development in Yol?u bark painting, with her paintings depicting scenes from her father�s dream, her family�s homelands and significant personal events that all featured her own mermaid spirit.

The distinctive colouring of her paintings on bark and board was created using discarded remnants of printer toner combined with natural earth pigments. Her innovative approach generated intense interest by Australian institutions, collectors and curators.

In 2020, Ms D. Yunupi?u�s work was featured in Sydney Contemporary and her first solo exhibition, I am a Mermaid, was presented by Alcaston Gallery (Naarm / Narrm / Melbourne) in 2021. She was also a finalist in the 2021 Archibald Prize at the Art Gallery of NSW with a work entitled Me and my sisters.

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