Ningura Napurrula (NN-1001) – Ancestral Travels (132cm x 144cm)
Acrylic on Canvas
- Artist Biography
Artist: Ningura Napurrula
Painting: Ancestral Travels
Size: 132cm x 144cm
Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
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Ningura was born in the desert south of Kiwirrkura in WA. She was married to Yala Yala Gibbs, one of the founders of Papunya Tula art movement. She helped Yala Yala with his paintings and in 1995 she joined the Haasts Bluff painting camp to paint for herself. Ningura was chosen as the sole female desert artist to paint the ceiling of the acclaimed Musée du Quai Branly in Paris. She is in the top echelon of female aboriginal artists and her work is in most major art institutions in Australia. Ningura Napurrula passed away on 11 November 2013.
The story Ningura tells is her mother’s story, Wyari Napaltjarri. It belongs to the Napaltjarri and Napurrula women and deals with a women’s birthing place (or, as Ningura calls it, “a borning place”), Wirrulnga rock hole. The large concentric circles she uses represent the rock hole itself, where the women give birth. The lines stretching out to either side of the rock hole are sand hills which run on either side of a creek. Where she uses semi-circular shapes she is showing old women that are looking after the woman having the baby. The shapes themselves are meant to show the women wearing nyimparra/hair-string skirts/bush belts. Where we see two women sitting (with the normal arcs) they are sitting either side of a nulla nulla that they have used to catch a goanna. Ningura uses small open circles to represent what she called, kumporopa or bush cumquat. The small coloured in circles are purra or bush apples. The larger circles Ningura also uses, with a centre radiating outwards, represent women’s hair twirled and plaited onto the top of the heads so as to carry food and water. This is known as a Mungwarri.