Artists

Dorothy Napangardi

One of the leading artists of the contemporary Aboriginal art movement, Napangardi’s work is highly sought after by both collectors and curators worldwide. Her paintings and prints have been widely exhibited and are in all national collections within Australia and in major collections worldwide including most recently the MET, New York. Napangardi had the honour of being the 2nd indigenous artist to be given a solo survey exhibition at the MCA (Museum of Contemporary Art), Sydney that traced 11 years of her painting career in 1991.

Regions: Central Desert, Western Desert

DOB: c 1958 – 1 June 2013

Place of Birth: Mina Mina (west of Yuendumu), NT

Significant Country: Mina Mina

Languages: Pintupi, Warlpiri

Communities: Alice Springs, NT, Yuendumu, NT

Art Centre: Gallery Gondwana


All of our dancing belongs there…
When I paint I think of the old days, as a happy little girl knowing my grand-father’s Dreaming.

I have never seen Dorothy Napangardi dance in fact myself. She danced ritually in 1999 when she visited Mina Mina, the sacred place of her birth, for the first time as an adult. It was here that her aunties painted her with relevant body designs and instructed her in the story and the dance relating to it. She danced ‘publicly’ in Alice Springs in 2000 at her exhibition opening, marking the tenth anniversary of Gallery Gondwana. But her painted landscapes certainly dance.

Source: Djon Mundine OAM, Australian National University, Canberra
Dancing Up Country – The art of Dorothy Napangardi, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney Australia.

Img 0005 Aunties And Dorothy

Dancing on Claypans - Mina Mina 1999

Dancing on Claypans - Mina Mina 1999
Left to right: Dorothy Napangardi, Nancy Napanangka (behind), Ena Nakamarra, Sarah Napanangka, Mitjili Napanangka and Minnie Napanangka Photographer: Christine Lennard © Gallery Gondwana
Published: Dancing Up Country - The art of Dorothy Napangardi Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, NSW, Australia

As one of Gallery Gondwana’s key artist, and one of the leading artists of the contemporary Aboriginal art movement, who was highly experimental, Napangardi’s work is highly sought after by both collectors and curators worldwide. Her paintings and prints have been widely exhibited and are in all national collections within Australia and in major collections worldwide including most recently the MET, New York.

Napangardi had the honour of being the 2nd indigenous artist to be given a solo survey exhibition at the MCA (Museum of Contemporary Art), Sydney that traced 11 years of her painting career in 1991.

She was awarded the Telstra National Aboriginal Art Award twice – for the overall category in 2001 and for Best Painting in Western Media in 1991.  She was also awarded the Northern Territory Art Award in 1998.

Dorothy Napangardi was born in Mina Mina, north west of Yuendumu in the salt lake crystalline of the Tanami Desert region of the Northern Territory. This is her ‘Country’ and it played an important and powerful part of Napangardi’s spiritual life, that provided a foundation and sense of connectedness to her people.

So it is that the subject matter for Napangardi’s paintings is her ancestral country, Mina Mina. Without any traditional iconography from her familial lines, Dorothy created her own innovative language to portray her country. Dorothy’s paintings are created by an intricate network of lines that collide and implode on top of each other creating a play of tension and expansion, transporting the viewer through a myriad of intersections. Her view is constantly changing: one painting giving an aerial perspective; the next as if she has placed a microscope to the ground. 

With a very individual painting style that she developed by elaborating on the traditional designs of the kurawarri (dreaming), Napangardi’s paintings focus on this ancestral country, Mina Mina , which is a highly significant sacred site particularly for women, as it is the point of origin for Karntakurlangu Jukurrpa (Women’s Dreaming) for not only the Warlpiri but also for the Kukutja whose traditional lands are to the west.

Napangardi was to achieve world renown under Gallery Gondwana, after meeting with the owner Roslyn Premont in 1987. Such was their relationship, both Dorothy and Roslyn became close friends, with Dorothy and family bestowing the name ‘Naparulla’. Both Dorothy and Roslyn traveled in Australia and overseas together for business and pleasure.

One of the last recorded video’s was in The Bure of Vatu Sanctuary in Alice Springs, when Dorothy and Roslyn were discussing future projects including her work being selected as a tribute to the Australian aboriginal culture being interpreted onto the tie and pochette worn at the 50th Edition of the Ermenegildo Zegna Wool Tropies.

Dorothy Napangardi is a highly acclaimed international artist, with a number of her works held in galleries, institutions and private collections around the world. For more extensive information about this artist contact us at info@gallerygondwana.com.au



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