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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, 1991 (printed 2011)

Lorrie Graham

gelatin silver photograph on paper (sheet: 50.5 cm x 40.2 cm, image: 40.1 cm x 26.8 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
Purchased 2011

Accession number: 2011.97

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Lorrie Graham

Mandawuy Yunupingu AC (age 35 in 1991)

Subject professions

Performing arts

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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.