Naata Nungurrayi

Naata Nungurrayi, born circa 1930 at Kumil, a rockhole west of Pollock Hills, is a Pintupi artist who lived a traditional lifestyle for the first 30 years of her life. It was not until her first encounter with Welfare Patrol in 1963 that Nungurrayi was separated from her ancestral homelands and relocated to Papunya the following year. Such memories of travel and relocation linger throughout the artist’s work, as she depicts ceremonial sites of the Tingari, ancestral men and women who travelled across Country creating sites of spiritual and cultural significance. It was not, however, until 1996 that Nungurrayi first began painting at the Papunya Tula Artists cooperative following the development of a women’s program just two years prior. Before this, only men within the community had created paintings for the public, yet Nungurrayi swiftly established herself as one of the senior elders of the Kintore women artist movement.

Womanhood, ceremony and Country are central to the artist’s work. Having been traditionally initiated into the sacred knowledge of Women’s Law, Nungurrayi has been granted permission to depict the sacred sites and ceremonies celebrating the vast journeys and landscapes shaped by the ancestral Tingari women. The artist’s work depicts sacred water-soakage sites and the vegetation surrounding them, as well as designs painted onto women’s bodies for ceremony. Visually, Nungurrayi’s works are rooted in the movement and textures of the land and ceremony she portrays. Developing a distinctive colour palette of white, reds, blacks, yellows, oranges and pinks, thickly applied ochre allows for a textured surface reminiscent of the earth, whilst the movement of bodies engaged in ceremony are reflected in the paintings' rhythmic compositions.

Widely regarded as one of the most significant artists from the Western desert, Naata Nungurrayi’s work provides an incredibly unique insight into women’s culture of the region, rightly resulting in their acquisitions by many major Australian galleries and collectors worldwide. Nungurrayi's artworks have been entered into the 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards, as well as having been named among the top 50 of 'Australia's Most Collectable Artists' in Australian Art Collector January in 2004. Having passed away in 2021, Nungurrayi is remembered as a respected elder and principal pioneer of women’s Indigenous art.

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Untitled
Naata Nungurrayi
$ 165,000.00 AUD
Naata Nungurrayi, Untitled, 2009, Synthetic polymer paint on linen, 182.5cm x 244.5cm
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