Karntakurlangu Jukurrpa (2004)
This beautiful painting is another example of Dorothy Napangardi’s ever-evolving style. Here she 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. A similar work of this style is held in The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The MET) in New York.
With the use of rather rigid geometric, coupled with linear movements, Dorothy has created a visual effect of “push and pull”, that takes the viewer on a journey through the painting. 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; through the spinifex clumps and over 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 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.
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.