Clinton’s areas of expertise include:
- Workshop facilitation: Visual Art, Dance and Spear-Making & Spear-Throwing
- Exhibiting Artist
- Cultural Image Design
Clinton Gaykamangu was born in 1970 and is originally from Arnhem Land but now lives in Darwin with his wife and children.
- Language: Yolngu Matha
- Clan: Gupapuyngu
- Totem: Main totem is Birrkuda, Sugar Bag Honey
Clinton’s explanation of creativity and culture is below:
Painting story I have been painting since I was 15, I would watch my dad paint for hours when finally one day he asked me to help him paint some areas and to my relief he asked me again and again and I realised that living in Darwin I missed something like my cultural stuff as I am living away from my home land, I never talk about my real homeland, I can only talk about my homelands through my art. Sitting here doing painting I can see my homelands through my painting and talk about it and share it with my kids. When I paint I paint about Sugar bag honey Gapapuyngu it is me, I am that clan and I do paintings about sugar bag honey. Each painting is from a tree, rocky place or valley, honey that is especially from the stinging bee the pale face bee that can sting. That is why we paint, it earns respect, people know what you are doing, and the old people can trust me and know that they can hand on knowledge to me, they can share the traditional stories with me, and see me as a future leader of the clan.
Song & dance story We as a Gupapuyngu clan we sing song lines about the bee and we dance like a bee, we go into the hive and come back out like a bee. When they fly out to get some honey nectar from the flower and also when they fly out to go and find another hive also. The bee itself is so aggressive, we embody the characteristic of the bee its self and mimic the bees action, when it stings we show that through fire.
About Country The Yolngu people have been here for many years and we know the animals, how they move how the hunt, we know everything about nature, about the animals about the trees and about the land.
Art symbology The diamonds in my art we paint to as acknowledgement of the honey comb, this design is also what we paint on our bodies for ceremony. The colours red, yellow, white, black show the larvae inside the honey comb and the cross hatching in between shows the sweetness of the honey. Ever thing when you talk about honey bee, we represent the honey its sweetness, the bee is everything . When we paint the diamond symbol other Yolngu can read this as a honey bee people.
Totem in art When I paint it has deep meaning and tradition to me and my clan showing my connection to the sugar bag honey. As an artists I want people to understand the symbols in my art that I am allowed to share with people, some meaning I cannot share as it is sacred. When someone purchases my artwork I need them to understand the meaning of that piece, as it more than just painting it is the law, discipline, self-esteem, world view and creating the balance of life between wrong and right.
Creativity & Culture Painting, dancing, singing, culture helps Aboriginal people to earn respect. It guides my life every day with art, it helps me guide my kids, they can respect me. In my home in Karama I am able to protect my family as people respect the fact that I am a cultural artists and they cannot swear or drink or smoke around this practice, this creates a safe environment for my children and a good environment for people to live in.