Central Australia is sand country. A landscape always moving, a shifting sea of sand dunes, cloaking and revealing, sculptured by winds, ephemeral in nature.
Source: Honouring and Remembering the Art and Life of Dorothy Napangardi, 1987-2013
Artist Dorothy Napangardi with daughter and finished work Sandhills, 2004
In many of Dorothy’s sandhill paintings she would use ochre colours, but on occasion she would reduce the colour palatte for her sandhills to the minimalist colour of black and white, that she became famed for in her larger masterpieces.
In this study work of the sandhills, the 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 of Australia.
Using a myriad of white dots against a black background Dorothy has created the movement of sands that gathers and disperses across the canvas, your eyes being drawn across the canvas.
Topographically, the sacred site of Mina Mina is made up of two enormous soakage areas that, rarely filled with water. Existing as clay-pans, the ground dries out and the earth lift at the edges, becoming delineated by salt. Dorothy depicts this process in this work, the white dotting is the crustations of salt stretching across the land.
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.