Kanakurlangu (Digging Sticks) and Sandhills, 2008
This work is to be seen as if you were floating over the landscape, a true bird’s eye view. In a geographical sense, this work displays various aspect of the country of Mina Mina, near Lake Mackay on the border of NT/WA and incorporates sandhills, rocky formations, cracked earth claypans, claypans shining with salt and water reflecting in the sun. On a deeper spiritual level, it is an inward journey connecting with her ancestors knowing her place in the songlines. It is a very lively work.
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.
In this stunning work the artist has created striking ochre, white on black designs depicting the ancestral women dancing across the country of Mina Mina across the terrain, around the soakages of Mina Mina and the crustations that form when rainwater recedes; through the spinifex clumps and over the sand hills.
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.