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Mitjili Napurrula


Uwalki Waitiya Tjuta  |  30h x 30w  |  RK651

Stretched - no frame  |  Acrylic on linen

Mitjili Napurrula (c.1945-2019) was a Pintupi woman from the Haasts Bluff region in the Northern Territory. 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 a very important member of Papunya Tula artists.

In 1959, Mitjili and her family moved from Haasts Bluff to the new settlement of Papunya. It was here that she observed the men, including her brother Turkey Tolson Tjupurrula (deceased), painting. Initially, her paintings followed the style of the artists from Papunya. On returning to Haasts Bluff, she commenced painting in 1992 for the Ikuntji Women’s Centre where she developed her own style, drawing on her father’s Dreaming Uwalki, which is the story of the spear straightening ceremony taught to Mitjili by her mother.

 Mitjili’s distinctive style is based on her father’s country, also called Uwalki, an area west of Haasts Bluff near the Kintore Ranges in the Northern Territory. Characterised by red sandhills, bushes and trees it is here that the spearwood trees used to make spears, are found. As custodian of the Kulata Tjurrkupa (Spear Dreaming) and representing the female side of the Dreaming, Mitjili depicted the trees (Watiya Tjuta) which provide the wood for the spears, whilst her brother is well known for painting the stories associated with making and assembling the spears. 

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.

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