Ningura Napurrula: untitled 1

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Ningura Napurrula: untitled 1


Untitled polymer paint on linen painting by Ningura Napurrula.

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

  • Polymer paint on linen 
  • 180 cm x 300 cm 
  • 2002 

Ningura Napurrula’s large canvas charts her ancestral country and women’s ceremonial places in the bold colours of the desert. The artist’s paintings represent rockhole sites and water soakages such as Palturunya and Wirrulnga, located east of the Kiwirrkura WA. This landscape is significant as female ancestors travelled through it, camping at particular sites and collecting bush foods. Their activities are translated into present day customs and knowledge upheld by Pintupi women.

This lively painting is dominated by a series of earthy red and pale pink circular forms representing the locations of sacred women’s ceremonies. Within these oval enclosures there are several U-shaped symbols, and while the artist has not provided specific information about this work, in Pintupi pictorial systems this motif generally refers to human figures – in this case women. Concentric curves formed from bold orange and black lines are associated with ceremonial women’s body paint designs, while the pale yellow patterned sections extending around the edges of the canvas represent the surrounding tali or sand hills. Ningura Napurrula created this vast painting by laying out the black line work across the red background surface. In order to do this she worked around and within the ancestral landscape depicted on the canvas.

From material supplied by Dr Lisa Chandler.

Wondervision Postcard 3

  1. Watch this short YouTube video of  Ningura Napurrula at work in her studio:  
    What similarities can you see in the picture above and this video? If it helps in answering this question, you might like to view this short clip.
  2. Research ‘Pintupi women artists’. What characterises their art works?
  3. What is the significance of the concentric circles in this work?
  4. Can you work out what the black sticklike objects are? What might they be used for?
  5. Draw a family barbecue in your garden using imagery as shown above? Create you own images to show the ceremony of your family. Remember, some artworks from the Western Desert are like ‘maps’, or pictures from above.
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