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David Gulpilil, Arnhem Land
, 1981 (printed 2000)

by David Moore

type C photograph

David Gulpilil AM (b. 1953), Mandalbingu actor and dancer, was born near Maningrida in Arnhem Land. He was sixteen when the British filmmaker Nicholas Roeg saw him dancing and cast him in Walkabout (1971). Subsequently, he appeared in Storm Boy (1976), Mad Dog Morgan (1976), The Last Wave (1977) and Crocodile Dundee (1986). For his performance in The Tracker (2002) he was named best actor at the Australian Film Institute Awards, the Inside Film Awards and the Film Critics’ Circle Awards. His later films include Rabbit Proof Fence (2002), The Proposition (2005), Australia (2008) and the Yolngu-language Ten Canoes (2006). Some years ago, Gulpilil returned to his ancestral lands to subsist through crocodile hunting and fishing. He shared the contradictions and difficulties of his existence between Yolngu and balanda (European) cultures in his one-man stage show, Gulpilil (2004), conceived by Neil Armfield and Stephen Page. In 2013 Gulpilil was awarded the Red Ochre Prize, Australia’s highest peer-assessed honour for Indigenous artists. Following Charlie’s Country (2013) he received the best actor award in the ‘certain regard’ category at Cannes. In 2019, when he appeared in the remake of Storm Boy, he won the NAIDOC lifetime achievement award.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
The series David Moore: From Face to Face was acquired by gift of the artist and financial assistance from Timothy Fairfax AC and L Gordon Darling AC CMG 2001
Accession number: 2001.75