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Wintjiya Napaltjarri: Untitled

Wintjiya Napaltjarri, Untitled

The artist

According to the Charles Darwin University website, Wintjiya Napaltjarri was born at Malparingya, north-west of Kintore in the Northern Territory. She is a senior Pintupi artist who was introduced to painting on canvas in 1994-95 during the Haasts Bluff/Kintore Women’s Painting Project. The following year, she and a number of other Pintupi women began to paint for Papunya Tula Artists.

By the late 1990s, the artist had developed a compact but expressive signature graphic style derived from women’s ritual body painting, where bold, gestural designs in thick, textured paint were laid out on a stark monochrome background.

An enduring inspiration for Napaltjarri’s work is the Western Desert soakage site of Watanuma (Flying Ant), closely associated with tjukurrpa ancestral events, journeys and related women’s ceremonies. In this work, women’s body paint designs are transformed into elliptical symbols, referencing both physical and spiritual connections to country. In compositional terms, this painting carries its encoded message with stark simplicity – by emblematic suggestion rather than mimetic illustration of topographical features or actualised narrative events.

Untitled by Wintjiya Napaltjarri

The work of art

Although untitled, this is quite a bold work of art with strong brush-strokes  may reflect  natural patterns in the desert or even possibly patterns meaningful to Wintjiya that often were marked out on the ground using a digging stick (the long broad stroke moving vertically in the picture). In either case, the image is a bold  one and a strong Indigenous image. The work of art was acquired by the University of Canberra in 2011.