Page 1

DOROTHY NAPANGARDI ‘and they danced their way across country’ a retrospective: remembering the artist

PRESENTED BY COOEE ART GALLERY IN CONJUNCTION WITH GALLERY GONDWANA 20 OCTOBER - 10 NOVEMBER 2018


Cover (front & back) Image Dorothy Napangardi Karntakurlangu [detail] Synthetic Polymer Paint on Canvas 122 x 91 cm #16968 Inner Front Cover Image Artist Dorothy Napangardi Source: Gallery Gondwana


Dorothy Napangardi - Karntakurlangu Synthetic Polymer Paint on Canvas 152 x 152 cm #16966


And they danced their way across countr y Mirri Leven

Director, Cooee Art Galler y

Cooee art is proud to present Dorothy Napangardi: And They Danced Their Way Across Country, to honour the artist’s valuable artistic legacy and mark the 5th anniversary of her passing. With New York’s MET recently aquiring one of Napangardi’s paintings and her current retrospective at Seattle Art Museum, Cooee Art will showcase a selection of Napangardi’s finest works. Dorothy’s mimetic paintings reveal the vast expanse of her country in microscopic

detail. The exhibition features paintings, prints and drawings that take the viewer on a journey to Mina Mina and its shimmering salt pans and lakes. Dorothy’s early artistic practice was heavily influenced by memories of her childhood. Her subject matter consisted principally of the Bush Plum and Bush Banana, wild fruits that grow in abundance near Mina Mina, changing in colour as they ripen. These were depicted in vibrant acrylic colours and these early paintings swiftly marked Dorothy as an


artist of great talent. Her superb sense of composition created a rhythmic effect as semi-naturalistic depictions were entwined in an altogether geometric formation. In 1997, Dorothy began producing works that traced the grid-like patterns of the salt encrustations on the Mina Mina clay pans. These marked a significant artistic shift in her work. Over a threeyear period, her paintings became less contrived and increasingly spare, all detail pared back to the barest essentials.These works, in which Dorothy explores the Women’s Digging Sticks Dreaming and other stories related to the travels of the Karntakurlangu, compel the spectators eye to dance across the painted surface, just as these ancestral women danced in their hundreds across the country during the region’s creation. As these works developed, her extraordinary spatial vision enabled her to create mimetic grids of the salt encrustations. The lines of white dots trace the travels of her female ancestors as they danced their way, in joyous exultation, through the saltpans, spinifex and sand hills clutching their digging sticks in their outstretched hands.

Kathleen Petyarre has been quoted as saying: “Those Walpiri ladies, they’re mad about dancing, they go round and round and round dancing, they’re always dancing.” Little wonder then, that the surfaces of Dorothy’s canvases become dense rhythms of grids, as she maps the paths of these dancing women. Aboriginal dance in the desert is special, and can be described as heavily grounded, foot to earth – a physical memory. Her art describes a sensitive relationship between artist and subject, the landscape revealed. “I really like painting. While I’m doing my paintings I always have my family in my mind, I have my country in mind”


Dorothy Napangardi - Mina Mina Synthetic Polymer Paint on Belgian Linen 76 x 122 cm #16965


Dorothy Napangardi - Sandhills Synthetic Polymer Paint on Belgian Linen 168 x 244 cm #16955


Dorothy Napangardi - Salt on Mina Mina Synthetic Polymer Paint on Canvas 76 x 76 cm #16953

Dorothy Napangardi - Mina MIna Synthetic Polymer Paint on Belgian Linen 56 x 66 cm #16972


Dorothy Napangardi - Sandhills Synthetic Polymer Paint on Canvas 91 x 305 cm #16952


Dorothy Napangardi

Remembering the artist on the 5th anniversary of her passing Adrian Newstead OAM

Founding Director, Cooee Art Galler y

Dorothy Napangardi spent her early childhood living a nomadic life at Mina Mina near Lake Mackay in the Tanami Desert during the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. She recalled camping at claypans and soakages with her mother, Jeanie Lewis Napururrla, learning to collect the plentiful bush tucker, and grinding seeds for damper cooked on hot ashes. This idyllic life came to a close when her family was forcibly relocated to the government settlement at Yuendumu. Dorothy’s father, Paddy Lewis Japanangka greatly regretted the move, particularly for its

impact on the traditional education of his children. However his attempt to return to country with his family failed and they remained in the government settlement until Dorothy married. She moved with her husband, an elderly man to whom she had been promised at a young age, into Alice Springs and bore him four daughters and later, after the marriage eventually broke down, gave birth to her youngest child, Annette, by another man. It was here, in Alice Springs, in 1987, that she began painting.


In the late 1980’s the government marketing company, Aboriginal Arts Australia, closed its Alice Springs outlet and its manager Roslyn Premont opened her own, Gallery Gondwana. After meeting Roslyn in 1990, Dorothy began painting exclusively for her gallery and the close personal relationship that developed between the two women lasted up until Dorothy’s tragic death in 2013. The studio environment and financial security that Premont provided enabled Dorothy to experiment freely and develop her artistic repertoire rapidly. As it did so, she created works, which drew on her innate visual consciousness developed during those early years spent in the vast unlimited expanses of the desert. Dorothy began to explore the Women’s Digging Sticks Dreaming and other stories related to the travels of the Karntakurlangu. While dancing, digging sticks magically emerged from the ground at Mina Mina, equipping the large band of women for their travels over a vast stretch of country. The tall desert oaks which are found there today symbolise the emergence of the digging sticks that literally rose up from beneath the ground itself. As these works developed,

her extraordinary spatial ability enabled her to create mimetic grids of the salt encrustations across the claypans of Mina Mina. In 2001 Dorothy Napangardi was the recipient of the 18th National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award, and in the following year a solo exhibition of her work was curated for the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney. Through her association with Roslyn Premont and her Gallery Gondwana, Dorothy’s paintings enjoyed considerable commercial success. Dorothy Napangardi was an artist of exceptional ability. Between 2002 and 2013 her works were considered amongst the most desirable by any living artist. It is a testament to the artist that since her death in 2013 Dorothy’s most accomplished paintings that were created for Gallery Gondwana have maintained their value in spite of the art market downturn of the post GFC period. While Dorothy Napangardi’s paintings may be seen as important commodities and major investments, the real value of her work is that it can be so beautiful and ethereal, as to boarder on the sublime.


“I really like painting. While I’m doing my paintings I always have my family in my mind, I have my country in mind” - Dorothy Napangardi


Dorothy Napangardi - Sandhills Synthetic Polymer Paint on Canvas 198 x 122 cm #16967


Dorothy Napangardi - Untitled Synthetic Polymer Paint on Belgian Linen 122 x 152 cm #16956


Dorothy Napangardi - Sandhills of Mina MIna Synthetic Polymer Paint on Belgian Linen 122 x 152 cm #16970


Dorothy Napangardi - Karntakurlangu Synthetic Polymer Paint on Belgian Linen 91 x 122 cm #16968

Dorothy Napangardi - Sandhills Synthetic Polymer Paint on Belgian Linen 91 x 122 cm #16969


Dorothy Napangardi - Beyond Mina Mina (Bilby Dreaming) Synthetic Polymer Paint on Belgian Linen 91 x 122 cm #16957

Dorothy Napangardi - Sandhills Synthetic Polymer Paint on Belgian Linen 91 x 122 cm #16963


Dorothy Napangardi - Karntakurlangu Synthetic Polymer Paint on Belgian Linen 152 x 91 cm #16958

Dorothy Napangardi - Karnltakurlangu Synthetic Polymer Paint on Belgian Linen 90 x 90 cm #16971


Dorothy Napangardi - Beyond Mina Mina (Bilby Dreaming) Synthetic Polymer Paint on Belgian Linen 152 x 61 cm #16964

Dorothy Napangardi - Sandhills Synthetic Polymer Paint on Belgian Linen 348 x 107 cm #16954


Dorothy Napangardi - Karntakurlangu Synthetic Polymer Paint on Canvas 31 x 41 cm #16988

Dorothy Napangardi - Karntakurlangu Synthetic Polymer Paint on Canvas 31 x 41 cm #16987

Dorothy Napangardi - Mina Mina Synthetic Polymer Paint on Canvas 36 x 46 cm #16986

Dorothy Napangardi - Karntakurlangu Synthetic Polymer Paint on Canvas 36 x 46 cm #16989


Dorothy Napangardi - Karntakurlangu (Ochre) Limited Edition Screen print on Paper ed: 2/50 paper size: 120 x 80 cm #17017

Dorothy Napangardi - Karntakurlangu Silkscreen ed: 2/50 paper size: 120 x 80 cm #17018


Dorothy Napangardi - Mina Mina Country Limited Edition Etching on Paper image: 59 x 46 cm paper size: 78 x 61 cm #17012

Dorothy Napangardi - Salt (Series II) Limited Edition Etching on Paper ed: 1/40 image: 69 x 49 cm paper size: 99 x 69.5 cm #15822


Dorothy Napangardi - Sandhills (Black and White) Screenprint ed: 3/99 image: 75.5 x 72.5 cm paper size: 98 x 80 cm #17013

Dorothy Napangardi - Sandhills (Ochre) Screenprint ed: 86/99 image: 75.5 x 72.5 cm paper size: 98 x 80 cm #17015


Cirriculum Vitae B | 1956 D | 2013 AWARDS & PRIZES 2001 1999 1991

First Prize, 18th NATSIAA, Museum and Art Gallery of Northern Territory, Darwin Highly Commended, 16th NATSIAA, Museum and Art Gallery of Northern Territory, Darwin Museums and Art Galleries Award [Best painting in European media] National Aboriginal Art Award, Northern Territory Museum of Arts and Sciences, Darwin

COLLECTIONS Artbank, Sydney Art Gallery of South Australia, SA Linden Museum, Stuttgart, Germany Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY, USA Musée des Confluences, Lyon, France Museum & Art Galleries of the Northern Territory, NT National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, ACT National Gallery of Victoria,VIC Queensland Museum, QLD South Australian Festival Centre Foundation, SA

The Australia Council Collection, Sydney The Erskine Collection, NSW The Homesglen Institute of TAFE Collection,VIC The Kaplan-Levi Collection, Seattle, USA The Kelton Foundation, Santa Monica, LA, USA The Kerry Stokes Collection, Perth, WA The Vroom Collection,The Netherlands 118th National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Awards, Darwin, NT


SOLO EXHIBITIONS 2018 Dorothy Napangardi - And they danced their way across country, Cooee Gallery, Sydney; Walkabout, Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, USA 2007 Stories from Mina Mina, Fireworks Gallery, Brisbane 2006 Karnta-kurlangu Jukurrpa, Gallery Gondwana, Sydney 2005 Hosfelt Gallery, San Francisco, USA 2004 Dorothy Napangardi, Gallery Gondwana, Sydney; 30 new aquatints by Dorothy Napangardi, published by Crown Point Press, Port Jackson Press, Melbourne; Peintres Pintupi, Galerie DAD, Mantes-la-Jolie, France 2002 Dancing Up Country; the work of Dorothy Napangardi - Museum of Contemporary Art, NSW 2001 Dorothy Napangardi, New Paintings,Vivien Anderson Gallery, Melbourne; Mina Mina Dorothy Napangardi, Gallery Gondwana,Alice Springs; Masterworks,Vivien Anderson Gallery,VIC; Country After Rain, Framed Gallery, Darwin, NT 2000 Songlines: Walala Tjapaltjarri and Dorothy Napangardi, Rebecca Hossack Gallery, London, UK; Gallery Australis, Adelaide; Recent Paintings by Dorothy Napangardi, Vivian Anderson Gallery, Melbourne; Dorothy Napangardi, Hogarth Galleries, Sydney 1999 Recent works by Dorothy Napangardi, Chapman Gallery, Canberra; Treading Softly, Chapman Gallery, Canberra; My Country – Journey of our Ancestors, Ancient Earth Indigenous Art, Cairns GROUP EXHIBITIONS 2016 Cooee Art at Australian Galleries, featuring Albert Namatjira, Alma Webou, Bill Whisky Tjapaltjarri, Dorothy Napangardi, Emily Kngwarreye, Freddie Timms, George Hairbrush Tjungurrayi, John Mawurndjul, Makinti Napanangka, Minnie Pwerle, Owen Yalandja, Prince of Wales, Queenie Nakarra McKenzie, Rover Thomas, Sally Gabori, Tommy Watson, Trevor Nickolls, Australian Galleries, Sydney, NSW 2013 Australia, Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK 2012 18th Biennale of Sydney, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, NSW 2012 Ancestral Modern, Seattle Art Museum Seattle, USA 2011 Parcours des Mondes, featuring the work of Abie Loy Kemarre, Ngoia Napaltjarri, Walter Brown Napanangka, Dorothy Napangardi, Paddy Tjapaltjarri, Arts d?Australie, Stéphane Jacob, Paris, France 2010 Emerging Elders, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, A.C.T 2009 Art Elysées 2009, Arts d’Australie, Stéphane Jacob, Paris, France; Parcours des Mondes, Arts d’Australie, Stéphane Jacob, Paris, France 2008 Black and White - an exhibition of Aboriginal works by Ronnie Tjampitjinpa, Abie Loy Kemarre, Judy Watson Napangardi, Gloria Petyarre, Ningura Napurrula, Kathleen Petyarre, Dorothy Napangardi, Rusy Peters at NG Art Gallery Sydney, in collaboration with Coo-ee Aboriginal Art Gallery, Sydney, NSW 2008 Melbourne Art Fair 2008, Gallery Gondwana stand, Melbourne; Parcours des Mondes, Artists displayed:, Dorothy Napangardi, Abie Loy Kemarre, Julie Robinson Nangala, Marina Mardilanj, Arts d Australie Stephane Jacob, Paris, France


2008 Lille Art Fair, Artists displayed:, Abie Loy Kemarre, Ningie Nangala, Julie Robinson Nangala, Dennis Nona, Alick Tipoti, Dorothy Napangardi, Kayi Kayi Nampitjinpa Kngwarreye, Walangari Karntawarra Jakamarra, Mulkun Wirrpanda, Alice Nampitjinpa,Yinimala Gumana, Melba Kanjarwanga, Samson Bonson, Haleema Djorlom, Arts d’Australie, Stephane Jacob, Lille, France 2006 Dreaming Their Way: Australian Aboriginal Women Painters, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, USA 2003 Collectors Show, Gallery Gondwana at The Depot Gallery, Sydney NSW; 20th Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin, NT 2002 One Mother, Dorothy Napangardi and Sabrina Nangala, Gallery Gondwana, Alice Springs; Native Title Business - Contemporary Indigenous Art, National Travelling Exhibition, Gurang Land Council (Aboriginal Corporation), QLD; Melbourne ArtFair 2002, Melbourne, VIC; Kana-kurlangu, Dorothy Napangardi - Gallery Gondwana at The Depot Gallery, Sydney, NSW; Indecorous Abstraction Contemporary Women Painters, Light Square. Gallery AIT ARTS Adelaide, SA 2001 Land of Diversity, The Northern Territory, at Hogarth Galleries, Paddington. 2001 Masterwork, Vivien Anderson Gallery, Victoria, Australia; Dreamtime-The Light and the Dark, Sammlung Essl, Klosterneuburg, Vienna, Austria; Dorothy Napangardi Country After Rain, Framed - The Darwin Gallery, Darwin, NT; 31st Alice Prize, Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs, NT; 18th National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award, Darwin, NT 2001 The Art of Place Exhibition, Australian Heritage Commission, Old Parliament House, Canberra, A.C.T 2000 Songlines: Walala Tjapaltjarri & Dorothy Napangardi, Rebecca Hossack Gallery, London, UK; Recent Paintings by Dorothy Napangardi, Vivian Anderson Gallery, Melbourne, Australia; Melbourne Art Fair 2000, Melbourne, VIC; Dorothy Napangardi, Hogarth Gallery, Sydney, NSW, Australia; Dorothy Napangardi and Walala Tjapaltjarri, Adelaide Festival, Gallery Australis, SA; 5th National Indigenous Heritage Art Award, Australian Heritage Commission, Canberra, A.C.T; 17th National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award, Darwin, NT 1999 The Redlands Westpac Art Prize, Mosman Art Gallery, NSW; Recent works by Dorothy Napangardi, Chapman Gallery, Canberra, A.C.T; Recent works by Dorothy Napangardi and Walala Tjapaltjarri, Vivian Anderson Gallery; Painting the Desert, Alliance Francaise de Canberra and French Embassy, Canberra, A.C.T; My Country - Journey of our Ancestors, Ancient Earth Indigenous Art, Cairns, QLD; 16th National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Award, Darwin, NT; Treading Softly, Chapman Gallery, Canberra, A.C.T 1998 Warlpiri Women, Gallery Gondwana, Alice Springs, NT; Northern Territory Art Award, Alice Springs, N.T; Napangardi Dreaming - Ceremony and Song, Hogarth Gallery, Sydney, NSW 15th National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award, Darwin, NT 1992 The Ninth National Aboriginal Art Award Exhibition, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin, NT 1991 Central Australian Aboriginal Art and Craft Exhibition, Araluen Centre, Alice Springs, NT; The Eighth NationalAboriginal Art Award Exhibition, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin


“Those Walpiri ladies, they’re mad about dancing, they go round and round and round dancing, they’re always dancing.” - Kathleen Petyarre


COOEE ART GALLERY

G | COOEE ART GALLERY PADDINGTON A | 326 Oxford Street, Paddington, NSW, Australia P | 02 8057 6789 G | COOEE ART GALLERY BONDI A | 31 Lamrock Avenue, Bondi, NSW, Australia P | 02 9300 9233 E | info@cooeeart.com.au W | www.cooeeart.com.au

Dorothy Napangardi | And they danced their way across country  

Cooee art is proud to present Dorothy Napangardi: And They Danced Their Way Across Country, a survey of works by Dorothy Napangardi. The exh...

Dorothy Napangardi | And they danced their way across country  

Cooee art is proud to present Dorothy Napangardi: And They Danced Their Way Across Country, a survey of works by Dorothy Napangardi. The exh...

Advertisement