Salt on Mina Mina
This painting depicts a major women’s ceremonial site known as Mina Mina, the artist’s custodial country, located near Lake Mackay in the Tanami Desert, north of Yuendumu in the Northern Territory. During the Jukurrpa Ancestral women of the Napangardi and Napanangka sub-section groups (aunt / niece relationship, in which knowledge is passed from one to the other) gathered to collect ceremonial digging sticks (karlangu) that had emerged from the ground. They then proceeded east, performing rituals of song and dance, to the place known as Jankinyi. A large belt of trees (Allocasuarina decaisneana) now stand where these digging sticks once were.
This painting shows yet another development in the ever-evolving style of Dorothy Napangardi. As with all of this artist’s works, this painting revolves around the sacred site of Mina Mina, the land in the remote Tanami Desert of which Dorothy is custodial owner. Made up of two enormous soakage and endless sandhills, here Dorothy and her aunts (Napanangkas) perform rituals of dance and song as part of their passing on of Jukurrpa.
Using a myriad of white dots set against a black background Dorothy has created a shifting sea of wonderfully harmonious contrast that gathers and disperses across the canvas. Like the sandhills in constant flux around and through the artist’s country so too does this painting move, backwards and forwards, the rippling effect produced so like that of the wind’s tracks in the sand.
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.