Naata Nungurayi: Marrapinti

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Naata Nungurayi: Marrapinti


Marrapinti, polymer paint on linen painting by Naata Nungurayi.

Donated by Mr Laurence John O’Dwyer, Sydney NSW.

  • Polymer paint on linen
  • 152 cm x 181 cm
  • 2003

This canvas is crossed by a maze of intricate line work, dealing with Tjukurrpa (Dreaming) events which took place at a sacred waterhole located in the artist’s ngura, or homeland, west of Kiwirrkura WA. Naata Nungurrayi is a Pintupi elder entitled to paint and pass on the Dreaming stories associated with this site. This knowledge is revealed in Tingari song cycles performed in women’s ceremonies and relates to the travels of ancestral women across this country.

At Marrapinti, a large group of senior women halted their journey eastward and gathered kampurarrpa, or desert raisins. The fruit can be eaten directly from the plant or ground into flour and baked in hot coals to produce bush damper. While camped at this location, the women also fashioned nose bones, also known as marrapinti. The nose bone ancestor lives in the ground at this site and ceremonies for piercing the nose are held here. The maze of marks in this work maps the artist’s ancestral country, its ceremonial sites and surrounding features in the landscape such as tali or sand hills. The shifting patterns of dark and light suggest the changing landscape of Nungurrayi’s traditional country.

From material supplied by Dr Lisa Chandler.

Wondervision Postcard 1

  1. Explain what the maze of lines represent.
  2. Recount the story of this painting in less than 99 words.
  3. How has the artist shown viewers the changing landscape of her homelands?
  4. Research the expression ‘Tingari song cycles’.
  5. Find another name for the ‘kampurarrpa, or desert raisins’.
  6. Think about how you could show the landscape around your home using lines and shade and colour. Now draw this landscape. Ask your class/friends if they can interpret your map.
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