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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.

Jimmy Wululu

1986
Martin van der Wal

inkjet print on rag paper (sheet: 42.0 cm x 29.7 cm, image: 25.3 cm x 25.3 cm)

Jimmy Wululu (1936-2005) was a Gupapuyngu (Yolngu) painter and sculptor. He grew up at Milingimbi Methodist Mission and worked as a labourer and builder, continuing to build and tend stock after he started to paint professionally in the late 1970s. The influence of his building training can be seen in his works, which are distinctively symmetrical and straight-lined. The major painter for his Gupapuyngu language group from the early 1980s, he painted fifteen log coffins for the Aboriginal Memorial. His work was shown in the Dreamings exhibition in the USA in 1988 and the Magiciens de la Terre show in Paris in 1989; he was also represented in The Continuing Tradition (1989), Paintings and Sculptures from Ramingining: Jimmy Wululu and Philip Gudthaykudthay at the Drill Hall Gallery (1992), Aratjara (1993-4) and Tyerabarrbowaryaou 2, I shall never become a whiteman at the MCA, Sydney (1994). His Bonggu Waterhole installation was shown at the Biennale of Sydney in 1998. Wululu often painted with David Malangi.

Martin van der Wal travelled from Townsville to Broome on his own initiative in 1986, photographing many Aboriginal artists who established major reputations in the ensuing years.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2005
© Martin van der Wal

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

Martin van der Wal (age 33 in 1986)

Jimmy Wululu (age 50 in 1986)

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

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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.

Wainburranga (Paddy Fordham)
Wainburranga (Paddy Fordham)
Wainburranga (Paddy Fordham)
Wainburranga (Paddy Fordham)

Big shots

Magazine article by Djon Mundine OAM, 2017

Djon Mundine OAM brings poignant memory and context to Martin van der Wal’s 1986 portrait photographs of storied Aboriginal artists.

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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 past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

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