Dorothy Napangardi

To be Auctioned on July 25th 12 Noon

DOB: c 1958 – 1 June 2013

Regions: Central & Western Desert

Place of Birth: Mina Mina (west of Yuendumu), NT

Significant Country: Mina Mina, Tanami Desert

Dorothy Napangardi, born circa 1956 in Mina Mina (Tanami Desert), was a highly successful yet humble artist, who first began painting in 1987 during her time at the Centre for Aboriginal Artists and Craftsmen. Her work is highly collectible, and before her death in 2006 she was producing captivating paintings that consistently fetched five and six figure sums at auction. As a young girl, Napangardi lived a traditional lifestyle and her first encounter with a white person was with a patrolman who was critical of her family’s life on their ancestral land. Her paintings of her ancestral lands are primarily associated with Women’s Dreaming and Kurlangu (Digging sticks), stories passed down to her by her paternal grandfather, though some of her earlier work is associated with Yuparli (bush banana).

Mina Mina provides a topographical view of the Mina Mina area, an important women’s site associated with the gathering of digging sticks and the related rituals. Mina Mina is also the site of two large water soakages, which drought has reduced to claypans. The earth absorbs any small amount of water present, leaving a delicate crusting of salt along the edges of the claypans. Napangardi represents this effect with intricate linear dot work in white paint against earthy brown hues representing the claypans, demonstrating her knowledge of the environmental dynamics of her home country. She also displays an acute spatial awareness in her depictions of vast expanses of land, while simultaneously mapping the tracks that her ancestors travelled thousands of years ago.


2001       1st Prize, 18th Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award, Darwin

1999       Highly Commended, 16th National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award, Darwin
1998       1st Prize, Northern Territory Art Award, Alice Springs
1991       The Museums & Art Galleries Award for the best painting in European media, 8th

National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award, Darwin


‘the Met’ (The Metropolitan Museum of Art), New York, USA

SAM (Seattle Art Museum), Seattle, Washington DC, USA

Linden Museum, Stuttgart, Germany
Musée des Confluences, Lyon, France
Museum and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory, Darwin

National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

Queensland Museum, Brisbane

South Australian Festival Centre Foundation, Adelaide, Australia
The Art Gallery of S.A, Adelaide

The Australia Council Collection, Sydney
The Erskine Collection, NSW
The Holmes a’Court Collection, Perth
The Homesglen Institute of TAFE Collection, Victoria, Australia
The Kaplan-Levi Collection, Seattle, USA

The Kelton Foundation, Santa Monica, USA
The Kerry Stokes Collection, Perth

The LeWitt Collection, Connecticut, USA
The Vroom Collection, The Netherlands

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