Mitjili Naparrula is recognised as one of the most famous Pintupi women she 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 Women’s centre in 1994) and consequently became one of the principal women painters at Kintore. Her brother is perhaps the most acclaimed painter in her line – the Great Turkey Tolson who is one of the founding members and principal painters for Papunya Tula. Her 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 recently won the prestigious 1999 N.T. Telstra Art Award and has many works held in public collections nationally.
Some exhibitions of her work include: ‘Ikuntji: Paintings from Haasts Bluff 1992-94’, Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne 1994, Adelaide Fringe Festival 1994, Hotel Shangri-la and Australian High Commission, Singapore 1994, ‘Ikuntji Artists from Haasts Bluff’, Hogarth Galleries, Sydney 1994, Yiribana Gallery opening exhibition, Art Gallery of New South Wales 1994, ‘Paintings from Haasts Bluff’ Hogarth Galleries Sydney 1995, ‘Miljili Napurrula and Marlee Napurrula’ Flinders Lane Gallery Melbourne 1995. Her work is also exhibited on an international level in countries such as Europe, North America and South Asia.
About the artwork:
Mitjili Napurrula paints in a distinctive and highly recognisable way, representing the watiya tjuta tree, at times interspersed with red Sandhills. The bold shapes and designs are formed to make harmonious images of this important country at her father’s site at Uwalki, near the Kintore Ranges. Her repeated tree motifs represent the women’s side of this Tjukurrpa, showing the trees that are the source of the wood used in spear shafts.
Mitjili’s mother Tjunkayi Napaltjarri taught her some of these important motifs, drawing them in the sand in the traditional way.