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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.

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The Gallery’s Acknowledgement of Country, and information on culturally sensitive and restricted content and the use of historic language in the collection can be found here.

Gulpilil (David) Dreaming - Kakadu 2006

George Fetting

type C photograph on paper (frame: 148.1 cm x 122.4 cm)

David Gulpilil AM (1953–2021), actor and dancer, was a Yolngu man of the Mandhalpuyngu language group, born near Maningrida in Arnhem Land. Having been raised in the bush and educated in the customs of his people, Gulpilil was sixteen when film director, Nicholas Roeg, saw him performing a traditional dance and cast him in the film, Walkabout (1971). Subsequently, he appeared in films such as Storm Boy (1976) and Crocodile Dundee (1986); and portrayed Bennelong in the television series The Timeless Land (1980). His later film credits include an award-winning performance in The Tracker (2002), Rabbit Proof Fence (2002), The Proposition (2005), Australia (2008) and the Yolngu-language Ten Canoes (2006), the idea for which Gulpilil developed with director Rolf de Heer. After returning to his ancestral lands to subsist through crocodile hunting and fishing, the contradictions and difficulties of his existence between Yolngu and balanda (European) cultures were examined in his one-man autobiographical stage show Gulpilil, conceived by Neil Armfield and Stephen Page, which premiered at the Adelaide Festival in 2004. Gulpilil was awarded the Red Ochre Prize at the National Indigenous Arts Awards in 2013.

One of several portraits of Gulpilil in the collection, this 2006 photograph by George Fetting depicts Gulpilil at a waterhole in Kakadu, and was a finalist in the 2007 National Photographic Portrait Prize.

National Photographic Portrait Prize 2007 Finalist

Gift of the artist 2008
© George Fetting/Copyright Agency, 2022

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

George Fetting (age 42 in 2006)

David Gulpilil AM (age 53 in 2006)

Subject professions

Performing arts

Donated by

George Fetting (4 portraits)

© National Portrait Gallery 2022
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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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