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Esther Bruno Nangala

"Marrapinti" by Esther Bruno Nangala


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  • 115cm by 105cm
  • Acrylic paint on canvas

About Esther

Esther Bruno Nangala is a Luritja/Pintupi woman and the granddaughter of Naata Nungurrayi, a legend of the desert art movement. Esther was born in Alice Springs in 1978 and brought up in Christmas Creek, near Fitzroy Crossing, and later in Kintore, NT.

Esther and her mother were some of the few women who walked out of the desert after living the nomadic life for years. She was then schooled at Yirara College in Alice Springs where she was taught art and schooled in both Pintupi and English. After returning to Kintore in 1999, Esther started to paint, receiving the benefit of a long apprenticeship under Naata and her skin sister, Nancy Ross Nungurrayi. At the same time, Esther was involved in important cultural initiatives such as the translation of some Pintupi song into English.

Initially involved in some community collaboratives, Esther started to paint in her own right in 2009. Since that time, she has made stunning leaps forward in the development of her own style and methodology for relating the stories around the important woman's site of Marrapinti. Bold in her use of colour and tending towards intricate designs, Esther, along with Gracie Ward Napaltjarri, represents and exciting view into the future of desert art. She paints bold traditional designs associated with women's sites, ceremonies and the laws of her Country.

Esther's works are vibrant and brightly coloured and often quite textured due to the large quantities of paint she applies to the linen. The influence of her grandmother's work is evident in Esther's paintings, who is known for her representations of Women's Law and Tingari Cycle.

About the artwork 

This painting depicts both the rock hole site at Marrapinti and women's business associated with women's concerns and women's law. 

Esther paints traditional designs that represent sacred women's business and ceremonies in the Kintore area, as well as the designs that the women paint on their hair and bodies when performing these ceremonies.