Dorothy Robinson Napangardi
began painting in 1987 at the “Centre for Aboriginal Artists”. Her
style is reflective of her early association with artists such as Rosie
Nangala Fleming, Peggy Napurrula Poulson and Eunice and Pansy Napangardi.
Her initial works were highly influenced by Eunice Napangardi in
particular, as they share a number of stories, close friends and are of
the same skin group. Their
representations of the Bush Banana Dreaming are characteristically
bright, vibrant, and full of movement.
in 1952, Dorothy comes from Pikilyi, which is situated approximately 400
km north west of Alice Springs. She belongs to the Warlpiri language
group, and paints in the traditional manner of the Kurrawari (dreaming).
Living a traditional life style until the early 1960’s when her family
group walked in to the pastoralist station of Mt Doreen, Dorothy was
taught about her country and the Dreamtime by her mother. Through method
of story telling, song and dance.
primarily paints the Mukati (Bush Plum) and Women’s Dreamings. Holding
a senior position in the field of traditional law within the Warlpiri
society, Dorothy’s works play an integral role in the preservation and
communication of her Dreamings. Her father is the most senior custodian
of the Pikilyi sacred site, having inherited her rights through her
patrilineal line the importance of her contribution to the Aboriginal
art movement is magnified. When painting Women’s Dreamings she refers
to the Mina Mina site, which is a highly significant site as it is
recognized as the point of origin for Karntakurlangu Jukurrpa (Women’s
Dreaming) for both the Kukuja and Warlpiri. Containing two large clay
pans and numerous water soakages the land is relatively fertile. It is
also thought to be the place where the digging stick originated,
emerging from the ground during the era of creation.
patterned and intricately woven designs detail her signature style.
Using more traditional colours (browns, greens, ochres contrasted
against black and white) she
creates depths and perspectives, leading the eye in to highly detailed
maps and journeys of her Dreamings.
number of factors have influenced the development of her style, however
it is thought that an exhibition trip to Sydney in March of 1998 marked
a significant turning point in her work. Exposure to the work of other
artists proved inspiring, but perhaps her return to Mina Mina was the
most influential factor in her development. Having not returned since
childhood, she was offered further specifics and knowledge concerning
the stories of Mina Mina – Leading
to the vast dimension, incredible intricacy and extreme stylisation of
the mother of five daughters, Dorothy teaches her stories and Dreamings
as she was taught. She is highly involved in women’s ceremonies within
the Warlpiri society and currently moves between Yuendumu, Alice Springs
and the birth place of her second husband, Camooweal in Queensland
has been the recipient of many prestigious awards including: 1991
Museum’s and Art Gallerie’s Award for the best artwork in Western
Media at the National Aboriginal Art Award; 1998 Northern Teritory Art
Award, Alice Springs, N.T;
1999 Highly Commended ‘16th National Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander Award’; 2001 ‘18th National Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander Art Award’.
has exhibited extensively within Australia and internationally.
Exhibitions include: 1991 Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs; 1998
(15th), 1999 (16th), 2001 (18th) National Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander Art Award, Darwin; 2000 Australian Heritage Commission,
Canberra; 2000 ‘Songlines: Walala Japaltjarri & Dorothy Napangardi,’
Rebecca Hossack Gallery, London; 2001 Old Parliament House, Canberra;
2001 ‘Dreamtime – The
Light & Dark,’ Sammlung Essl, Klosterneuburg, Vienna; 2001 31st
Alice Art Prize, Alice Springs; In 2002 Dorothy exhibited in ‘Native
Title Business – Contemporary Indigenous Art’ National Travelling
Exhibition. Her success in 2001 with the ‘18th NATSIAA’ established
her standing in Australian art and in 2002 /3 a major survey of her work
was held at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, which went on to
tour Asia; ‘Dancing Up Country: The Work of Dorothy Napangardi.’
Recently, Dorothy’s work has been exhibited at the National Art
Gallery of Malaysia in 2003.
include: National Gallery of Australia, Canberra;
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; Museum and Art Gallery
of the Northern Territory; Art Gallery of south Australia, Adelaide;
Australian Council, Sydney; Queensland Museum, Brisbane; Kaplan Levi
Collection, Seattle, USA; Richard Kelton Foundation, Santa Monica, USA;
Linden Museum, Stuttgart, Germany; Artbank, Sydney.