David Gulpilil Ridjimiraril Dalaithngu AM changed the way the Australian screen represents Aboriginal peoples and their cultural heritage. He brought the realism of ethnography into his portrayal of Aboriginality, replacing earlier derogatory and degrading representations of his people within Australian feature films.
As a traditional dancer, Dalaithngu adapted the precision, grace, and agility of this art form into his acting. In all his films, Dalaithngu infuses his own cultural knowledge and identity into his characters. He portrays the demeanor, skills, and knowledge of a man of a high degree within an Aboriginal cultural context. Over the course of his career, he dignified and enriched the representation of Aboriginality beyond the understanding of any non-Indigenous scriptwriter or director. This new characterisation of Aboriginal masculinity gained widespread respect from the industry and audiences alike.
A true master of his craft, who will be sadly missed, but never forgotten.
Vale David Dalaithngu 1953 – 2021