PHILIP GUDTHAYKUDTHAY

Skin name: Gamarrang
Language: Liyagalawumirr
Dreaming: Dhuwa
Clan: Liyagalawumirr
 

Born c1925-1935 in the bush on the outskirts of Ramingining, Central Arnhem Land, Philip Gudthaykudthay, also known by the knickname 'Pussycat', was the only child to father Lika and mother Ganinydja one of the Djardewitijibi Tribe. Gudthaykudthay’s mother’s country is Ramingining, making him a Senior Custodian (djunngayi) of Ramingining. Gudthaykudthay paints both his mother’s and his father’s country.

Before painting, Gudthaykudthay worked as a stockman, truck driver, fencer, and crocodile hunter selling crocodile skins to the Milingimbi Mission. Gudthaykudthay learnt the skills of painting in the 1960s, at the Nangalala Mission on the Glyde River, under the instruction of his half-brother Mirritja.  Gudthaykudthay soon developed an individual style consisting of abstract landscape designs, which were exhibited as fine art, devoid of ethnographical details in their exhibition (Garry Anderson Gallery, Sydney, 1983).

Gudthaykudthay’s first recorded exhibition, Traditions and Innovations, was held in 1979 at the Legislative Assembly in Darwin. It was not till 1983 that Gudthaykudthay had his first solo exhibition, held at the Garry Anderson Gallery, Sydney. This exhibition consisted of bark paintings, featuring abstract landscape designs and clan patterns. The National Gallery of Australia acquired two of these bark paintings.

Gudthaykudthay created five Dupan (Hollow Logs) for the renowned 1988 Aboriginal Memorial, an installation of 200 Dupan commemorating the deaths of indigenous people since white occupation. The installation was exhibited at the Biennial of Sydney-Beneath the Southern Cross, before moving to the National Gallery of Australia where it in on permanent display.

Gudthaykudthay completed a printmaking course in 1990s, at Charles Darwin University, focusing on lithography, lino cut and screen-printing. Gudthaykudthay has produced numerous successful prints, commonly with the stories of the Wagilag Sisters, Wititj (olive python) and the Native Cat – his personal totem. In 2013, Gudthaykudthay further completed a Certificate II in Visual Arts at the Charles Darwin University.

Gudthaykudthay featured in the 1967 documentary film Across the Top by Malcolm Douglas. The film documented traditional indigenous life in Arnhem Land, the Gulf of Carpentaria and Cape York.

In 2005, Gudthaykudthay made his big screen debut as The Sorcerer in the landmark Australian film Ten Canoes. The film was a great success and aided in educating the world about Yolngu culture in Ramingining, Central Arnhem Land.

 

Collections

Aboriginal Art Museum, The Netherlands
Artbank, Sydney
Art Gallery of New  South Wales, Sydney.
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
British Museum, Department of Africa, Oceania and the Americas, London, UK
Charles Darwin University, Darwin
Flinders University Art Museum, Adelaide
Ganter Myer Collection
Kluge-Rhue Collection, University of Virginia, USA
Linden Museum, Stuttgart, Germany
Milingimbi Collection, MECA, Milingimbi Educational and Cultural Association
Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin
Museum of Contemporary Art, Ramingining Collection, Sydney
Museum of Mankind, British Museum, London
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Parliament House Art Collection, Canberra
Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, USA
Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane
Queensland University of Technology Art Museum, Brisbane
University of Queensland, Anthropology Museum, St Lucia
University of Technology, Sydney