LANGUAGE GROUP: Yolngu
COMMUNITY: Gangan, NT
Naypirri Gumana's moiety is Yirritja. He is a member of the Gumana arm of the Dhalwangu clan and his homeland is Gangan. The Gangan community is situated in a remote inland river about 200kms from Yirrkala, NT. Naypirri is a senior ceremonial and community leader and only began to paint outside of ceremonial contexts in 2017.
Naypirri creates larrakitj memorial poles, a unique art form from Arnhem Land that has captivated the world. Ancient designs and stories are applied to hollow stringybark logs and feature highly patterned designs called miny'tji.
In some of his larrakitj, Naypirri applies the sacred diamond design which refers to the waters around Gangan outstation, which is where his artworks are produced. The diamond pattern also shows the structure of the ceremonial fish trap made when the different subgroups of the Dhalwangu clan come together for this ceremonial and educational occasion.
The initial activities of Barama, the great Ancestral Being for the Yirritja moiety took place at Gangan. One of the metaphorical overviews of Naypirri's work containing this miny'tji is the union between the different subgroups of the Dhalwangu clan in the ancestral cycle of regular fish trap ceremonies they join together in celebrating.
Despite his delayed commencement of painting for an external audience, there is a sophistication and virtuosity in his expression which is very exciting.
Copyright Kate Owen Gallery March 2021