Karntakurlangu Jukurrpa (2008)
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 Desert Oak trees (Allocasuarina decaisneana) now stand where these digging sticks once were.
This monumental 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, which is made up of two enormous soakage areas and endless sandhills.
This painting can be read like a map through which the women move; across the terrain, around the soakages of Mina Mina and its crustations of salt; through the spinifex clumps and over the sandhills. The artist’s fascination with rather rigid geometrics coupled with non-linear movement creates a push and pull effect, pulling the eye of the viewer up and down, inwards and outwards, pushing it from one point to the next. It is her ability to keep the viewer continually engaged whilst reading her work that sees Dorothy Napangardi receiving the recognition that she does.
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.