Karntakurlangu Jukurrpa (2003)
In this painting Dorothy has created a different view on movement. Whilst taking us on her view of country, her painting draw us to the centre of the canvas, a journey that depicts a major women’s ceremonial site known as Mina Mina, the artist’s custodial country which is located near Lake Mackay in the Tanami Desert, north of Yuendumu in the Northern Territory.
The use of a rather rigid geometric, arranged in a circular movement, Dorothy has created a visual effect of drawing the eye, into the heart of the work. 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 that form as the water recedes; depicting the spinifex clumps and the sandhills. It is this ability to keep the viewer continually engaged whilst reading her work, that has seen Dorothy Napangardi receive the international recognition she has.
In this work, Dorothy tells her dreaming about 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) who gathered to collect ceremonial digging sticks (karlangu) that had emerged from the ground. They perform 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.
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.