David Gulpilil is, indeed, a great artist.
When, as a seventeen year-old, David Gulpilil lit up the cinema screen in the film, Walkabout, he did more than play a role. The performance was so strong, so imbued with a new type of graceful naturalism, that it re-defined perceptions of Aboriginality, especially in the field of screen acting. Through his charismatic, engaging and unforgettable performances, Gulpilil has brought tremendous dignity to the depiction of what it is to be Aboriginal.
Marshall Arts is very pleased to introduce you to another of Gulpilil’s prodigious talents: painting.
In his own distinct but traditionally evolved style, his paintings convey the reverence David Gulpili has for the landscape, people and traditional culture of his homeland.
These four recent works depict his homeland of Marwuyu Gulparil. The preciousness of this place is intensified by his use of gold washes and detailing. Although unintentional, the gently luminous gold paint recalls medieval illuminated manuscripts – richly and reverentially wrought spiritual tomes.
Through the richness and variety of his art, David has brought an incalculable amount of self-esteem to his community.
 In one work title, Gulpilil has referred to the Rainbow Snake. This is not to be confused with the ancestral Rainbow Serpent. Gulpilil is referring to a species of snake called a file snake; it is commonly referred to as the Rainbow Snake and is eaten by the local people.