Djukulul was one of the first recognized female painters in Ramingining, Central Arnhem Land. Born in 1942 at Murwangi, near Mulgurrum Outstation, and schooled in Milingimbi in the 1960’s, Djukulul was taught the art of painting from her father Dick Ngulmarmar and brothers George Milpurrurru and Charlie Djurritjni. Before painting seriously, Djukulul worked in the stockyard-mustering cattle by foot.
After moving to Ramingining, Djukulul started to paint for the newly established Ramingining town and art centrein the 1970’s. Djukulul soon developed a unique painting style of her own consisting of sacred designs and religious stories.
Djukulul was one of the first Ramingining women to paint her own story, moving away from her husband’s traditional patterns and totems. Djukulul moved outside the cultural traditions of Yolngu women only being associated and categorized as weavers, opening the door for other Yolngu women to be recognized as painters.
It was not until her second exhibition entitled Dorothy Djukulul and Djardie Ashley held in 1986 at the Aboriginal Artists Gallery, Melbourne, where Robert Holmes a Court acquired ten pieces for his collection, which established Djukulul’s place in the art world.
Djukulul contributed five Dupan (Hollow Logs) for the 1988 Aboriginal Memorial, an installation of 200 Dupun 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 as a permanent display.
Djukulul has experienced great success both nationally and internationally, with five individual exhibitions and over 30-group exhibitions, and work in numerous public and private collections, Djukulul’s works continue to be well sought after’