Gayili Marika Yunupingu's Dream

Gayili Marika Yunupingu
Gathering Yams
Gathering Art Materials is Hard Work

<i><b>'I want to leave something behind, something
special for them.'

'I would like to have an arts and crafts workshop where all kinds of people, especially children can learn and create Aboriginal art. That is my dreaming, that is my dream.'

Gayili Marika Yunupingu</i></b>

When Gayili goes hunting and gathering art materials she knocks on every door in her community until someone is prepared to lend her a vehicle. Such is her determination to succeed in her arts and crafts enterprise. Gayili is the community's choice as a person who would make the best use of a troop carrier with a roof rack. So following the success of Valery's bus the ISX is very keen to support Gayili's request for support.

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 <i>lipa lipa</i>(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 is indicative of the respect Gayili commands and her skill as an artisan.

For the last 7.5 years Gayili has been borrowing transport from family members to collect material for her arts and crafts business (barks, yidaki, milkwood tree carvings, weaving materials from pandanus palm leaves and collecting dyes).

A new troop carrier would allow her to have greater independence and freedom to collect materials for her art works. It would also allow her to take other women hunting and gathering for food and art materials as well as taking young children and teaching them the ancient practices.

* Galupa is a highly significant and beloved site for the Yolngu people. It was an important landing site for Macassan traders for over four hundred years and was the main place that seafaring Yolngu people launched their vessels. Galupa was the only community in the vicinity in which the Alcan, now Rio Tinto Alcan bauxite plant, was developed. Gumatj leaders have always maintained a presence at Galupa. The mining corporation ALCAN identified Galupa as their preferred dock as well, but Gumatj leaders would not handing over the site. Instead they had homes built there for Yolngu to guard over their beloved site. Gayili continues to live there, feeling strongly about guarding this site for the Yolngu people.

Project description: 
Gayili Marika Yunupingu is one of the senior women leaders of Arnhem Land. Over many years she has been involved in everything from cultural tourism, women's night patrol, arts and crafts to teaching and education. For seven and a half years Gayili has begged and borrowed vehicles to support her arts and crafts business and to take other women and children into the bush for hunting and food gathering. With her own vehicle (a troop carrier with roof racks) nothing would stop Gayili's enterprise from going forward.
Lead Organisation: 
Gumatj Clan
Lead WWW: 
Contact Name: 
Peter Botsman
Contact Phone: 
(02) 4465 1665
Contact Mobile: 
Contact Fax: 
Contact Email: 
Support Type: 
Troop Carrier with Roof Racks
Current Partners: 
Currency Type: 

Funding Amount:

Northern Territory - East Arnhem Land