Gutiŋarra Yunupiŋu

Identifies as: Clan - Gumatj, Moeity - Yirritja
Language Group: Dhuwalandja

Gutiŋarra Yunupiŋu has been deaf since birth and overcome many barriers. As soon as he graduated Year 12 in 2015 he was eager to commence employment at The Mulka Project as a filmmaker. In 2017 Gutiŋarra produced a film for NITV titled Gutiŋarra Djälkiri, which focused on his first language, Yolŋu sign language. In that same year he also produced a collaborative video piece for Tarnanthi 2018, titled Yuta Mulkurr and his film Maykarran was a finalist in the 2018 Digital Portraiture Awards. In 2019 Gutiŋarra was awarded the NATSIAA Multimedia Award for his 6k filmwork Gurruṯu mi’ mala (My Connections) which demonstrates his connections to his people and his country through the Yolŋu kinship-system of gurruṯu. In this artwork he reveals his position in the world of gurruṯu through his first language, barrkuŋu waŋa (language from a distance) Yolŋu sign language. This film was later exhibited at Tarnanthi 2019 and received great interest due to the fascinating concept underlying this art piece. 2019 was an exceptional year for Gutiŋarra as he was also a finalist for the NT Young Australian of the Year Awards. In early 2020 Gutiŋarra completed a collaborative piece with the Mulka team called Wata'mi Manikay for the Sydney Biennale NIRIN exhibition, which was launched at AGNSW on the 14th of March. In August he was a finalist in the 2020 NATSIAA Art Awards for his digital art piece Bäru Minytji.

Original Action


I am a Gumatj man. When I was a little boy I lived with my family in Buymarr, which is a beautiful peaceful homeland on the beach approximately 100kms from Yirrkala. It was here that my family taught me about the land and the sea and how to hunt, gather and prepare food. In those early years my mother, aunties and grandmother also taught me Yolŋu sign language. I moved to Yirrkala when I was 7 years old to start school, but I return to Buymarr often, I love it there. These photos give you a glimpse of my relaxed homeland of Buymarr and also of some other places I visited often as a child to hunt, gather and play with friends and family.


Buymarr home. Welcome!
My homeland family, on the beach


This is the buku, the high place used to look out over Buymarr. This is my gathu, on the way up we saw a bäpi (snake).


The salt water in Buymarr is so clear, you can see the fish swimming through the water. We swim, hunt guya (fish) and gather maypal (shellfish) here.

After hunting we come back, to eat. My Ŋamala (mum) is making damper in this photo, and in the background there is a rockpool I swam in when I was a little boy.


This is miyapuŋu (sea turtle) and a giant clam caught at my homeland Buymarr, on the fire for everyone to eat. Marrkap!


Gurtha (Fire)
I was sleeping in my tent when I woke up and realised fire was burning. This is the burning season

Me and my gaminyarr (granddaughter). She is learning to walk.


This is Ganirri‘mirri also called Shady Beach because of the shade of the many Ganirri, (beauty leaf) trees. The island across the water is called Barrpira. This is the flower of the yukuwa yam.

It is guku (honey) season.
When we see the dawurr, (the home of the bees) we know there is guku. We cut down the tree and out flows the sweet taste.


We swim here in Dhaliny River. We use the rope to swing into the water from the other side.

This is Yambirrpa. It is one of the fish traps Yolŋu use. There is a gap in the rock wall so that when the high tide comes in, the fish come in. As the high tide goes out, the fish are trapped and we catch them.