Gayili Marika Yunupingu

Gayili is a senior Traditional owner from the Yolngu people.  They are from the Saltwater country in Arnhemland in the Northern Territory of Australia. Her paint brush is made from strands of hair tied to a small twig. The thickness of the lines and the way they are applied are very important – besides Skin, they the Clan and Country of the artist.

“Gayili means new, main road. True to her name Gayili is a senior Gumatj elder. Born prematurely on the shores of Melville Bay at Galupa Community, Gayili was carried by her aunty in a nambarra (paperbark cradle) to the clinic at Yirrkala - about thirty miles away. Everyone recognised that the life force was very strong within Gayili and she still lives at her birthplace Galupa.


As a young girl, her father took her on long sea journeys in his eight metre long lipa lipa (carved log canoe). Gayili's father was asked to take custodial responsibility for the Nandjaka (Cape Arnhem) Peninsula by the last descendants of the Lamami clan.

Gayili is proud of her heritage and is respected by elders for her interest in traditional stories and has been given permission by the elders of the Gumatj, Galpu, Wandurri, Djapu, Djambarrpuynu and Riratingu clans to reproduce their clan designs. This is a unique honour that shows respect for Gayili and her skill as an artist.


Here are examples of Gayili's artwork. Click on the images for more information and how to purchase.