Significant Aboriginal solo artist exhibition opening

[by Rebecca Campart]

Curator of Aboriginal Art and Material Culture Luke Scholes and Assistant Curator Clare Armitage Photographer: Merinda Campbell

The Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT) presents the moment eternal: Nyapanyapa Yunupiŋu, a retrospective exhibition encompassing the breadth of this Yolŋu artist’s practice.


Nyapanyapa Yunupiŋu (c. 1945, Yolŋu) is widely regarded by curators, scholars and art collectors as a leading Australian contemporary artist.


For over two decades Yunupiŋu has worked in the remote community of Yirrkala in the Northern Territory. the moment eternal: Nyapanyapa Yunupiŋu will bring together a diverse collection of significant paintings, prints, drawings, sculptures and screen based works that chart the dramatic evolution of her practice.


“This is a key milestone for MAGNT, as this is the first solo exhibition our institution has developed for an Aboriginal artist. the moment eternal: Nyapanyapa Yunupiŋu presents a rare opportunity for audiences to view a large display of historic and contemporary works created by Yunupiŋu. This solidifies MAGNT’s commitment to showcasing world-class Aboriginal art to audiences on an international scale,” said MAGNT Director Marcus Schutenko.


“The display of over 60 artworks in varying mediums will challenge our audience’s preconceptions of contemporary Aboriginal art practice. Yunupiŋu expresses her capacity to live in the moment through her mark making,” said Curator of Aboriginal Art and Material Culture Luke Scholes.


In early 2008, she made a dramatic departure from the previous conventions of Yolŋu art. After a close encounter with a near fatal goring of a buffalo, the artist unleashed a unique set of personal narrative paintings revolving around her life experiences.


A centrepiece of this exhibition will be Ganyu (Stars) 2019, a unique multimedia work commissioned especially for this exhibition with the assistance of the Australia Council for the Arts.


“I used to watch my father painting and he would tell me that later I would paint on my own. I spent many hours watching him. When I married Djapu leader Djiriny we went to Garrthalala and I lived side by side with his other wife Gunygulu and we worked together on our art, small bark paintings and sculpture. She was impressed that I knew how to make and do these things and encouraged me to work and paint in my own right.” - Nyapanyapa Yunupiŋu.


Art emerging from Yirrkala in the mid-1950s fuelled the Australian art world’s changing perception of Indigenous Australian art.


Art made by Yolŋu speakers continues to be recognised as a unique and profound independent art tradition.


Yunupiŋu is represented by Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney and is lauded as a prominent artist on the international stage.


MAGNT endeavours to make this exhibition accessible online.


EXHIBITION DATES 23 May – 25 October 2020 FREE entry


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