Artist: Ningura Napurrula
Region: Watulka W.A.
Ningura Napurrula was born c. (1938 – 2013) at Watulka, Western Australia, south of Kiwirrkurra. Her husband, Yala Yala Gibbs Tjungrrayi (now deceased), was half brother to George Ward Tjungarrayi and Willie Tjungarrayi also very renown artists.
In the 1980s Ningura moved with Yala Yala and their family to Kintore where she started helping with the background dotting on her husband’ s artwork, collaboration being a common practice with aboriginal artists. In 1995, as part of the Kintore/Haasts Bluff women’s painting project, she started doing her own artwork. This was at the same time other senior Pintupi women such as Makinti Napanangka (now deceased) started to paint.
Ningura has brilliant control over the acrylic medium, her work is represented in important state galleries around Australia, as well as the interior of the Musee du Quai Branley in Paris. She is an incredibly talented, highly respected and collectable artist. Ningura was included as one of only eight Australian Aboriginal artists represented in the Musee du qui Branly, the famous parisian museum dedicated to indiginous art. Ningura was further emphasised when the Museum decided to have her work superimposed on the ceiling of the buildings administrative station. Australian viewers might know her equally striking design for the $1.10 stamp in Australia Post’s 2002 Art of the Papunya series.
Ningura depicts the mythological events of her ancestors. Her artworks focuses on the travels of her female ancestors, the sacred sites that they passed, and the mythological significance of the bush tucker that they collected. In mythological times, one old woman, Kutunga Napanangka, passed through this site during her travels towards the east. She passed through numerous sites along the way before arriving at the permanent water site of Muruntji, south west of Mt. Leibig. These travels and rituals help to explain the current customs and the ceremonial lives of these Pintupi women.
2001 – ‘Aborigena’ at the Palazzo Bricherasio, Turin, Italy
2003 – ‘Australian Contemporary Aboriginal Art in Prague’, Toskansky Place, Prague, Czech Republic
2003 – ‘Masterpieces from the Western Desert’, Gavin Graham Gallery, London, United Kingdom
Finalist, 2001 Telstra Art Awards
Highly Commended, 2002 Alice Prize
2003 – artwork depicted on Australia Post stamp
2005 – invited to paint ceiling in the Musee du Qaui Branly, Paris
Finalist, 2009 Wynne Prize, AGNSW
Australian Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, Canberra
Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
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