Salt on Mina Mina (2006)
This small work is a snap-shot (often a prelude to a much larger work) where the artist Dorothy Napangardi depicts a section of a major women’s ceremonial site known as Mina Mina, which is the artist’s custodial country located in the remote Tanami Desert, north of Yuendumu in the Northern Territory. This area is made up of two enormous soakage areas and endless sandhills, and it is here that Dorothy and her aunts (Napanangkas) perform rituals of dance and song as part of their passing on of Jukurrpa.
In this delicate work the artist has created the striking black dotting on a white background. Dorothy describes it as when one walks softly and gently like a Bilby, the totem ancestor of the salt lakes of where she was born.
Mina Mina is a major women’s ceremonial site located near Lake Mackay in the Tanami Desert north west of Yuendumu in the Northern Territory. During the Jukurrpa (Dreaming) Ancestral women of the Napangardi and Napanangka sub-section groups gathered to collect ceremonial digging sticks (kurlangu) that had emerged from the ground there and then proceeded east, performing rituals of song and dance, to the place known as Jankinyi. As they travelled through sandhill country, they collected an edible fungus (jinti-parnta) that grows during the winter rains and made into bread.
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.