Salt on Mina Mina (2005)
As custodial owner, Dorothy Napangardi depicts a major women’s ceremonial site known as Mina Mina. In this work the artist shows yet another development in her ever-evolving style. The ethereal quality of this painting resonates with poetic beauty, speaking of dance and songs, as it sweeps across the canvas.
This place of Mina Mina is located near Lake Mackay in the Tanami Desert, north of Yuendumu in the Northern Territory. It is here that Dorothy and her aunts (Napanangkas) perform rituals of dance and song as part of their passing on of Jukurrpa.
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.
Topographically, Mina Mina is made up of two enormous soakage areas that, rarely filled with water, exist as clay-pans. As water soaks into the ground small areas of earth dry out and lift at the edges, becoming delineated by salt. Dorothy captures the process of the crustations of salt across the terrain, etched by the tracks of the women as their paths stretch on, crossing and merging; telling their stories.
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.