Gunybi has mainly lived and worked as an artist at Ganggan, sometimes based at Dhuruputjpi or Yilpara. He came to notice as a ceremonial yidaki (didjeridu) player sought after by elders to accompany their sacred song. He accompanied the Yolngu delegations to the opening of the National Museum in Canberra in 2001, and the larrakitj installation at the Sydney Opera House in 2002, and played at the opening of Djambawa Marawili’s exhibition in the 2006 Sydney Biennale.
Under the tutelage of artists like Gawirrin Gumana and Yumutjin Wunungmurra from his mother’s Dhalwangu clan, whilst living on their country, he has now assumed ceremonial authority.
Guynbi is represented byBuku-Larrnggay Art Centre. He first came to the notice of the staff as an artist in 2002, with a carved and painted ironwood sculpture of a Wurran or cormorant, a totemic species of his mother clan. The wood’s natural shape suggested itself to him and he commenced to reveal the bird within. He then added pigment to achieve the colouring but both sculpting ironwood for sale, rather than for ceremony, and painting ironwood are new actions in Northeast Arnhem Land public art. This began a consistent theme of Gunybi following his own inclinations in expressing his vision. He has combined that with a startling innovative flair to produce groundbreaking sacred art that is at once novel and still entirely consistent with Yolngu madayin (law).
Gunybi has had the instinct to introduce radical new forms without offending community tolerance. He has introduced or developed novel forms such as double sided barks, heavily sculpted poles, incised barks, ironwood sculpture and inserting sculptures into poles. He attributes his confidence in using new materials to his twelve-year stint as part of a building team in remote homelands.
Gunybi is an energetic participant in ceremonial life who is always cheerful with a robust sense of humour. He is a natural leader amongst his peers. His vigorous zest for life sees him throw himself into whatever activity he is engaged in.
© Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Art Centre