Nancy Ross NUNGURRAYI (deceased): untitled

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Nancy Ross NUNGURRAYI (deceased): untitled



Donated by Mr Chris Simon, Yanda Aboriginal Art, Alice Springs, NT.

  • Polymer paint on linen
  • 1800 x 3000 mm
  • 2003

Nancy Ross Nungurrayi is a senior Pintupi artist from Kintore NT whose canvas is a map of women’s ceremonial sites in her traditional homeland. Ceremonial business is shown in this painting in the groupings of U-shaped forms positioned across the canvas. They are located in a landscape criss-crossed with a network of Tjukurrpa journey lines illustrating the routes of ancestral beings as they travelled across the landscape. These interconnected pathways intersect at numerous sacred sites, painted as groupings of concentric circles, where ancestral women gathered bush foods and performed ritual activities. Less dominant areas of pattern and curved line work show features in the landscape such as tali (sandhills) and puli (rocky escarpments). Her work shows a thick layering of closed-up dotting in raw, earthy desert colours. Nancy Ross Nungurrayi’s landscape is represented as a vast physical and spiritual map, linking Tjukurrpa beings from the past with the ceremonial activities of Pintupi women in the present. She is the custodian of a number of stories associated with the Tjukurrpa and women’s knowledge. She also paints Mantjintjalkara, located in the Karrku region of her birth and Mamuttjulku which is her father’s homeland.

From material supplied by Dr Lisa Chandler.

Wondervision Postcard 6

  1. Watch this short video of Nancy at work: Note that as Nancy paints, she is singing her story. This is very common with Desert artists.
  2. To see the country where this artist lives and paints, watch this small slide show.
  3. Using less than 99 words, describe what the artists is representing in this artwork.
  4. Make a list of the features (or symbols) used in this painting. Draw and label each one.
  5. Close your eyes and in quietness, think about a special place where you like to be. How could you use symbols and icons to share this place with others. Draw this picture to add to your class gallery.
  6. Research some of the stories that this artist paints and is a custodian of. Some may only have scant detail. These include Tunitjarra – kunkga tjuta or many women, Marrapinti – women’s business, Mantarrkurra, and Wirunya.
  7. Discuss the connection between the colours used and the events and objects shown.
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