Dorothy Napangardi was a Warlpiri speaking contemporary Indigenous Australian artist born in the early 1950s in a location referred to as Mina Mina, near Lake Mackay in the Tanami Desert. Napangardi grew up in the settlement town of Yuendumu and spent most of her life in Alice Springs, where she began painting in 1987 learning alongside Polly Watson Napangardi, Margaret Lewis and Eunice Napangardi.
She was instructed in the historic Dreaming, (Jukurrpa) which describes the origins and journeys of ancestral beings in the land identifying sacred places where the spirits reside. The Dreaming theme is one of the inseparability of the self from the environment and usually includes travelling across the land. These are notions than can also be found in Napangardi’s art, with its profusion of intersecting lines suggesting spiritual meaning and evocative depth.
In 2001 Napangardi won ﬁrst prize in the 18th National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award for her work “Salt on Mina Mina”, after winning lesser prizes in the same festival in 1999 and 1991. In 2002, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney hosted an exhibition of Napangardi’s work.
Internationally, US-based Crown Point Press published a series of her prints and exhibited her paintings and prints in its gallery in San Francisco. Other local and international representations include those that can be found at:
- Hosfelt Gallery (San Francisco) solo exhibition in 2005
- Sammlung Essl Museum (Vienna) group show in 2001
- Kelton Foundation (Santa Monica, CA)
- Kaplan-Levi Collection, (Seattle)
- Vroom Collection (The Netherlands)
- Linden-Museum (Stuttgart)
- National Gallery of Australia (Canberra)
- Art Gallery of South Australia (Adelaide)
- Queensland Museum (Brisbane)
- Gallery Gondwana (Alice Springs and Sydney).
Sadly, Napangardi’s life ended prematurely when she was killed in a car accident two years ago on 1 June, 2013.
- Featured item above is: Karntakurlangu Jukurrpa (Women’s Dreaming) 2001 synthetic polymer on canvas 130 x 240cm (part of the Holmesglen Collection).
“Is It Art?”