Katherine Napaltjarri

To be Auctioned on July 25th 12 Noon

Katherine Napaltjarri b 1978 is the granddaugther of the late famous Benny Tjapaltjarri and sister to Eric Kumunja Tjapaltjarri . Benny was a renowned Aboriginal artist and traditional owner/keeper of the sacred site Pinpirnga. He painted at Papunya Tula from the early 70s, however most of his works were produced in the early 80s. Katherine’s Mother and grandmother passed down their Dreamtime stories to Katherine. The importance of these stories and the traditional techniques she maintains, makes Katherine’s work rich in meaning with strong family connections to her country and to the traditional customary laws of her people.

This painting depicts the story of the Napaltjarri Sisters who were being tracked by a Wati (man). To hide from him, they stopped and made camp at the rockhole, where the two sisters started to chant and sing. Calling on the spirits of their ancestors, the Napaltjarri sisters turned to the man and he was transformed into a stone. This Stone is still there to this day and this story is passed on to all Aboriginal peoples in the Kintore area.

Katherine’s style is an excellent example of the multivalent nature present in Aboriginal paintings; meaning that the designs used in the paintings often have many interrelated symbolic meanings. The surface narrative elements or the painting’s “story” or “Dreaming” are only one layer of an Aboriginal painting’s true significance. The imagery employed by Aboriginal artists has deep cultural resonances that defy simple or narrative interpretations. However, the western viewer can intuitively feel the power of this spiritual resonance without necessarily having to understand the full details known by the initiated.

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