Naata Nungurrayi (Australia, Pintupi people, c1932– )

Untitled no. 20    2010
synthetic polymer paint on canvas
UTS Art Collection, donated by Craig Edwards through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program, 2013

Marapinti    2012
synthetic polymer paint on canvas
On loan from the Corrigan Collection

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Two paintings not to be missed on any tour of the UTS Tower are by the Australian indigenous artist Naata Nungurrayi, a respected elder with important custodial responsibilities to country and women’s law.

Nungurrayi is a Pintupi woman born in around 1932 at Kumil rockhole, west of Pollock Hills, Western Australia, and from 1962 was settled at Papunya, one of the last government initiated settlements created to house Aboriginal people from all over the central and western deserts. Papunya was also the site of the original ‘dot-paintings’ rendering of traditional body and ground designs in acrylic paint on canvas.

In the early 1980s the Pintupi people living at Papunya, including Naata Nungurrayi, moved west and established their own settlement at Kintore then Kiwirrkura in the heart of Pintupi country. It was there that Nungarrayi first started painting as part of a women’s group called the Haast Buff collective. Since then she has developed her own style and distinctive palette of oranges, browns, yellow, purple and white. Nungurrayi paints sacred women’s sites and women’s ceremonies and as an elder from her language group she is one of the few women to have permission to paint aspects of these Dreamings.

These paintings relate to women’s ceremony associated with Marrapiniti, a rock hole and water soakage site in the artist’s country. The work is part of a unique series and display the complex patterning and superior painting technique of the artist, the use of heightened colour represents an important stage both of the artists’ work and the development of painting with in the Papunya community in the 21st century.

 

 

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