Recognized as one of the most famous female Pintupi painters, Mitjilli commenced painting in 1993. Her mother, Tjunkayi Napaltjarri, was involved in the ‘Minyma Tjukurrpa Project’ (a collection of women painters from Kintore and the Ikuntji Womens centre in 1994) and consequently became one of the principal women painters at Kintore. Her brother, the Great Turkey Tolson is one of the founding members and principal painters for Papunya Tula. Mitjilli’s sister, Wintjiya Napaltjarri is one of the three wives of Tupa, Turkey Tolson’s father, and her husband Long Tom Tjapanangka is also a leading painter at Haasts Bluff who won the prestigious 1999 N.T. Telstra Art Award and has many works held in public collections nationally.
Representing the female side of Turkey Tolson’s Spear Dreaming, Mitjilli concentrates on the trees that provide the wood in her paintings. She possesses a close association with the spear dreaming as her father’s country – Ulwalki – is where the trees that provide the wood are found.
Associated symbols are embedded by Mitjilli on canvas with bold colour and organic forms.
Other Dreamings Mitjilli has inherited include Wangunu or Portulaca (small black seeds ground and used to make damper). And Arkatjirri – a fruit similar to a sultana that is found in the bush. A large body of her work includes vibrant reds, yellows and browns which serve to communicate the essence of flowers, many of her works being primarily concerned with their representation. Her sense for spacing and colour is strong and indicative of her playful manner.
Mitjilli’s paintings are widely collected both publicly and privately and have been exhibited both nationally and internationally.
National Gallery of Australia, ACT
National Gallery of Victoria, Vic
Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, NT
Art Gallery of New South Wales, NSW
Aboriginal Art Museum,The Netherlands
Art Gallery of South Australia, SA
Art Gallery of Western Australia, WA
Baillieu Myer, de Young Museum, San Fransisco, USA
Campbelltown Regional Gallery, NSW
Flinders University, SA
Latrobe University, Vic
Mornington Peninsula Gallery, Vic