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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Mandawuy Yunupingu, NT, 2004

John Elliott

type C photograph on paper (sheet: 50.6 cm x 60.7 cm, image: 33.0 cm x 50.0 cm)

Mandawuy Yunupingu (1956-2013), singer songwriter, was the lead singer of Australia's pre-eminent Aboriginal band, Yothu Yindi. Born in Arnhem Land, Yunupingu trained as a teacher, completing his degree in 1987 and later becoming the first Indigenous Australian to be appointed a school principal. He formed Yothu Yindi in 1986. Combining traditional instruments, songs and sounds with western rock and pop, the band achieved international recognition with their second album Tribal voice (1991) and specifically with the hit single 'Treaty'. Co-written with Paul Kelly and performed at the launch of the UN's International Year of Indigenous Peoples, 'Treaty' reached No. 11 on the Australian charts and was voted Song of the Year by the Australian Performing Rights Association. Yunupingu retired from teaching in 1991 and toured with the band throughout the 1990s while continuing his work in supporting and promoting Aboriginal rights and culture. He was a member of bodies such as the Yothu Yindi Foundation and the Reference Group Overseeing the National Review of Education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. He was named Australian of the Year in 1993. Yunupingu died of kidney disease in June 2013, six months after Yothu Yindi were inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of the artist 2005
© John Elliott

Accession number: 2005.45

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

John Elliott (age 53 in 2004)

Mandawuy Yunupingu AC (age 48 in 2004)

Subject professions

Performing arts

Donated by

John Elliott (19 portraits)

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

Café and shop

On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

Herb Wharton, Cunnamulla, Qld, 2004 John Elliott
Herb Wharton, Cunnamulla, Qld, 2004 John Elliott
Herb Wharton, Cunnamulla, Qld, 2004 John Elliott
Herb Wharton, Cunnamulla, Qld, 2004 John Elliott

Thousand mile stare

Magazine article by Simon Elliott, 2004

John Elliott talks about his photographic portrait practice, including his iconic image of Slim Dusty arm-in-arm with Dame Edna Everage.

Lee Kernaghan near Broken Hill, 2005 Ian Jennings
Lee Kernaghan near Broken Hill, 2005 Ian Jennings
Lee Kernaghan near Broken Hill, 2005 Ian Jennings
Lee Kernaghan near Broken Hill, 2005 Ian Jennings

Australian of the Year

Inspiring a Nation

Previous exhibition, 2010

The Australian of the Year Awards have often provoked controversy about who is selected and whether their achievements are remarkable.

Elle Macpherson, 2000 Polly Borland
Elle Macpherson, 2000 Polly Borland
Elle Macpherson, 2000 Polly Borland
Elle Macpherson, 2000 Polly Borland

Australian Visit

Previous exhibition, 2006

The exhibition will include works of art from the NPG Canberra's permanent collection with some inward loans and aims to highlight the achievements of notable Australians.

We would like to thank our partners.
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Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia


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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.