Karntakurlangu (Belonging to Women), 2008
In this painting the artist Dorothy Napangardi uses an ochre yellow/gold against a brown/black background to depict her country. Through the landscape of the painting is the tracery of white dots. This is Karntakurlangu, a country of ridges, sand hills, salt and where Napangardi and Napanangka perform rituals of song and dance.
Karntakurlangu literally translates from Warlpiri language into ‘Belonging to Women’. Mina Mina, a sacred women’s site, is located on the far west border of the Northern Territory, near the Western Australian border, close to the great salt lake of Lake MacKay. It comprises of a large claypan that fills with water after rain surrounded by large desert oak trees.
During the Dreaming women of the Napangardi (Dorothy’s ‘skin’ name) and Napanangka (aunties for the Napangardi kinship) sang and danced this country into existence. This is how traditional knowledge is passed on – from auntie (father’s sisters) to niece.
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.