Gecko and the Mermaid

Last Few Days….Don’t miss it.

If you haven’t made time to take yourself and your children to the wonderous The Gecko and the Mermaid: Djerrkŋu Yunupiŋu and her sister, exhibition at the NGV. Now is the time.

This exhibition connects our newest learners with our oldest teachers. Yolŋu art, culture and language is one of the world’s oldest and richest cultures. 700km north of Darwin, this pocket of North-East Arnhem Land may have first come to your attention through the striking work of Dhambit Nung

The exhibition will introduce young audiences to Yolŋu art, culture and language and provide an opportunity for children and families to learn more about and engage with the rich culture from North-East Arnhem Land – known to be one of the oldest living cultures on this planet.

There are plenty of interactive games and hands on immersive activities for the kids to engage with.

“Children can explore and along the way learn the names of animals and how to count to five in Yolŋu Matha, the language of Yolŋu people, in a creative counting game. A specially produced film will also allow children to learn how bark is collected and prepared for painting, and be inspired to create their own digital bark paintings, choosing from a colour palette of Ms N Yunupiŋu’s natural ochres, or Djerrkŋu’s vivid and paints repurposed from disposable printer ink cartridges.”

Bark Ladies: Eleven Artists from Yirrkala
Bark Ladies: Eleven Artists from Yirrkala is a major ground floor exhibition at NGV International that celebrates the NGV’s extraordinary collection of bark paintings and larrakitj (painted hollow poles) by women artists working out of the Yolŋu-run art centre, Buku Larrngay Mulka Centre (Buku), situated in Northeast Arnhem Land.

Before 1970, no Yolŋu women painted sacred themes on bark or larrakitj in their own right; however, in recent decades, a number of women artists have taken to these media, becoming renowned both nationally and internationally for daring and inventive works that challenge tradition. The NGV has been acquiring important works on bark by artists from Buku for more than two decades, establishing one of the most significant collections of work by Yolŋu women artists.

Buku is located in a small Aboriginal community called Yirrkala, which is approximately 700 km east of Darwin. According to the staff at Buku, under Yolŋu Law the ‘Land’ extends to include sea, and both land and sea are connected in a single cycle of life which Yolŋu people celebrate through their songs, sacred designs and art. Both Yolŋu men and women are known for channelling this unique world view into innovative works of art.

The exhibition begins with the significant bodies of work by the sisters Nancy Gaymala, Gulumbu, Barrupu, Ms N Yunupiŋu and Eunice Djerrkŋu Yunupiŋu. In this first space, audiences will encounter stories about Yolŋu conceptions of the universe, fire, and creation, as well as bold contemporary paintings that explore rhythm, tonality and gesture.

NGV International | 17 December 2021 – 25 April 2022 | FREE