Eunice Napangardi


Born:         B: late 1950 –
                  D: October 2005

People:          Warlpiri

Language:      Warlpiri

Area:             Yuendumu


Emerging from the arid spinifex country of Papunya in Central Australia, Eunice was one of the first Aboriginal woman painters.

A highly talented artist of Warlpiri descent, Eunice was part of the advent of the Aboriginal Art Movement at Papunya in the early 1970's. During this important period there was a vast upsurge of the human spirit when a gifted people, oppressed by years of subjugation, stood up once more.

Eunice responded to this new found freedom by expressing the rich culture of her people through art. She produced some of the most magnificent canvas paintings to come out of the area.

Rising to prominence through her depiction's of the Bush Banana Dreaming (signifying the journey of the Uparli ancestors), Eunice's paintings are totally unique. She demonstrates a great artistic flair and surety of touch in her ability to represent one dreaming.

Eunice's paintings depict variations of the bush banana plant with its radiating vines. The bush banana, or Uparli, grows in rock crevices close to the dry river beds in the spinifex country. It is collected by the Aboriginal women to be eaten as fruit or used for medicinal purposes. Since the bush banana plant has both nutritional and healing properties it is of immense importance to the Aboriginal people of Central Australia.

Married for many years to the late Kaapa Jampitjinpa, one of the forefathers of the Aboriginal contemporary art movement, Eunice now paints with the highly acclaimed artist Maxi Jampitjinpa. Eunice is an animated and spirited person who is deeply reflected in the core of her art. While she is active in the preservation of her culture through song and dance, she portrays the living traditions of her people through her magnificent paintings.

Eunice was one of three women Aboriginal artists to be selected for the Bicentennial Travelling Exhibition in 1988. In 1989 her work featured in ‘Jukurrpa’ an exhibition at the Blaxland Gallery, also in 1989 at the Aboriginal Art Gallery, Sydney. In 1990 a selection of her works travelled to Noumea to feature in the ‘Art Dock’ exhibition. In 1991 the Alice Springs Airport commissioned a work for its opening. Also in 1991 Eunice was involved in a travelling World Bank exhibition that started in Washington, USA. She also featured in a three man show at the Hogarth Galleries in Sydney in 1994. In 1998 her works were included in the “Out of Australia” exhibition at Lui Hai-Su National Art Museum, Shanghai China.Collections include: Aboriginal Desert Art Gallery, Federal Airports Corporation, The Richard Kelton Foundation, Aboriginal Art Galleries of Australia Melbourne, Jinta Desert Art Gallery Sydney, Wollongong City Art Gallery, Flinders University Art Museum Adelaide, The Holmes a Court Collection; Stockmen’s Hall of Fame; Artbank; Federal Airports Corporation Collection and many other private and public collections both in Australia and abroad.