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Mitjili Napurrula

Mitjili Napurrula (1945 - 2019) was a Pintupi artist from the Haasts Bluff region, located 200 km west of Alice Springs, NT. She came from a prestigious family, both of artists and community leaders. Her father was Tupa Tjakamarra and her brother the late Turkey Tolson Tjupurrula who was an important member of Papunya Tula artists. Mitjili began painting at the Ikuntji Women's Centre in 1992. She married Long Tom Tjapanangka at Papunya in the 1960’s, and they later lived at Haasts Bluff and Mt Liebeg.

Her distinctive painting style and designs are based on her Father’s country - the pristine sandhills, bushes and trees of Uwalki. Uwalki country is about 200km’s south of Uluru near Kintore, situated in the Gibson Desert. The Dreaming stories (Tjukurrpa) behind the paintings relate to the making of spears – an important aspect of “men’s business”. The patterns represent the women’s side of this Tjukurrpa, showing the trees (Watiya Tjuta) that provide the wood for spear shafts and other objects.

This country is characterised by red sandhills, bushes and trees including the beautiful desert oaks. Mitjili was taught some of her key imagery by her mother drawing patterns in the sand. She says: “My mother taught me my father’s Tjukurrpa; that’s what I’m painting on the canvas”. Her canvases are patterned with strong, vibrant colours, and contain an incredible energy. This style has gained her a strong following within Australia and internationally. 

Please Note: This Artist passed away in 2019 and out of respect for Aboriginal culture, we have removed the photograph of this Artist holding this artwork from our website.