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Artist BiographiesBiographies of Haasts Bluff (Ikuntji) Artists


Ikuntji (Haasts Bluff) artists come from a variety of locations and backgrounds though most are OPintupi language speakers. Short biographies are given below for the artists represented on our Web site:

Alice Nampitjinpa

Born: 1943
Location: in the country of Wintjinjarra, west of Kintore
Language: Pintupi
Themes: Porcupine Tjukurrpa

Alice Nampitjinpa was born in 1943 near Talaalpi, which is a swamp near and a little bit to the east of Walungurru on the Western Australian border.

Prior to her painting Alice Nampitjinpa worked for many years at the Kintore School teaching the young girls dancing and the traditions of the desert people.

Alice started painting on the "Minyama Tjukurrpa" - the Kintore / Haasts Bluff collaborative canvas project. As a painter she is inspired by her rich cultural heritage, and thrives when involved with her stories and lore. Alice is an active "dancing woman" who travels widely to participate in annual ceremonies and "Women's Law" meetings.

Alice's tjukurrpa is the porcupine or Tjilkamata. Her story is told in bright colours often utilizing orange and yellow to mirror the ochres that are used in ceremonial body painting. In her tjukurrpa story there is often the porcupine scurrying about rock holes and hiding places looking for tucker while nearby the women are themselves hunting, laying in wait for the porcupine. Alice is a keen hunter and likes to go hunting with Eunice Jack.

Alice's father was the late Uta Uta Tjangala, who was one of the original Papunya Tula painters. His Tjukurrpa is Pungkalungka at Takpalangu. Pungkalungka's are dangerous, and sometimes kill and eat people. They live in huge caves in the hills.

Alice only paints the entrance to the caves to signify the unknown danger of the monster that dwells within. Her father's country is Ngurrapalangu, and her tjukurrpa has passed to her from this place: the porcupine was travelling through the sand hills and passing near the two carpet snakes, kuniya kutjarra, who were living underneath the water.

Alice Nampitjinpa also enjoys the other crafts and is involved in producing hand-spindled hairstring for ceremonies and ininiti necklaces and mats. She regularly goes out bush to collect ininti seeds then laboriously pierces them with hot wire to make beads for necklaces, bracelets or mats.

Anmanari Napanangka Nolan

Born: 1938
Location: Yatemana's Bore, near Haasts Bluff
Skin: Napanangka
Language: Pintupi
Themes: Mulpu (Native Mushroom) and the dancing women at Kungka Yunti.

Anmanari and her family travelled east from her birth place (Yateman's Bore) in response to the drought and harsh conditions experienced throughout the district in the early 1940s. On this journey east her family travelled with Tutuma Tjapanagarti's family - Eunice Jack's father - and a lifelong friendship was established between the two girls.

Anmanari's family stopped at the ration station at Irrunytju set up by Pastor Albrecht of the Hermannsburg Mission.

Anmanari was married to the Papunya Tula artist Lionel Kantawarra Tjupurrula, and it was through him that her interest in painting developed..

Anmanri is a very powerful law woman who commands great respect within her community. She has been a member of the Ikuntji Art Centre for many years and is highly regarded for her painting skills. Her tjukurrpa is the mulpu, the bush mushroom.

Eunice Napanangka Jack

Born: 1940
Location: Lupul in the Fredrick Range
Skin: Napangka
Language: Pintupi
Themes: Tanga/Bilby

When Eunice was a little girl, and like so many other Aboriginal families at the time, shortages of food forced her family east towards the ration stations being set up in central Australia.

Now an important woman in the community, Eunice Jack is well known for her hunting skills, dancing and traditional law knowledge.

Eunice Jack started painting with the opening of the Ikuntji Women's Centre in August 1992. Prior to that during the 1970s she helped her husband Gideon Tjupurrula Jack who was painting at Papunya Tula.

Her father was Tutuma Tjapangarti, one of the first men to paint for Papunya Tula. Eunice also paints his country, which includes Tjukurla, Tjila, Kurulto and Lupul.

Her mother was from the Walpiri side of Lake Mackay - Winparrku - in Western Australia.

Eunice's paintings are interpretations of her country near Lake Mackay. She uses layers of colour to build up a vision of the bush flowers and grasses. Amongst this landscape Eunice's personal stories are told, either of the travellings of her tjukurrpa - the Bilby - or the people who once lived in the area.

A brilliant colourist, Eunice's Hairstring, Tali (sandhill), Mungada (apple) and wildflower paintings display great talent and dedication to her profession and traditions.

Her Hairstring works are made up of thousands of varied colour strokes, representing the hair being rolled on women's thighs to make bags and clothing.

Her Mungada (apple) works hold myriad dusted mauve circles overlaying the ground of varicoloured-feathered brushwork.

Eunice Jack is represented in leading galleries worldwide.

Katungka Napanangka

Location: near Kintore on the edge of the Great Sandy Desert
Skin Name: Napanangka
Language: Pintupi
Themes: Tjukurrpa Kuniya/ Two Brown Snakes

Katungka is one of the daughters of Katarra Nampitjinpa, an important Pintupi artist who painted originally with the Papunya Tula Artists and then later with Ikuntji artists at Haasts Bluff.

Katungka watched her mother and sister, Pirrmangka, paint for many years but she only started painting regularly after her mother passed away in 1999.

Katungka drives 100 kilometres round trip to and from Papunya every day to paint her stories. She is a devout Christian who is married to Pastor Murphy and regularly participates in religious ceremonies. She appears to reconcile both traditions with respect and integrity and is committed to the transmission of knowledge of both cultures.

Katungka paints her mother's dreaming stories from her country Ulkapa, near Kintore and the tjukurrpa from her own country at Intinti, both of which are far west of Haast's Bluff, over the West Australian border.

The stories at Intinti involve women hunting for kuniya or carpet snakes with nulla nullas. The two kuniya disappear down rockholes, hiding from the women.

In 2003 Katungka developed her white saltlake works. These have expanded and developed with fine marking all over the white canvas. Shadow forms are seen as marks in the salt lake. These marks represent people travelling, the wind shifting the salt, animal tracks and the myriad marks left on the saltpan by even the most minor change in the environment.

Linda Ngitjangka Naparulla

Born: 1935
Location: Alkipi, north weat of Papunya
Skin Name: Naparulla
Language: Pintupi
Themes: Tjukurrpa Ngamunpurru/Bush Raisin

Linda Ngitjanka was born at Warapuyu, north of Browns Bore and her father at Lake Mackay, west of Kintore. Her parents died when she was a little girl and she was sent to Haasts Bluff mission where she grew up and married Katapana Alan Tjapanangka. His country is Yumari, also west of Kintore.

Linda Ngitjanka's tjukurrpa is the bush raisin, small green and black berries known as ngamanpurru.

Linda Ngitjanka also paints her father's tjukurrpa, waru tjangitjarra (firesticks) and kuturru (nulla nulla) tjukurrpa from her own country, Alkipi.

Nulla nullas are cut and carved from mulga hardwood and are used in ceremonies with song and dance, for digging, and occasionally for fighting.

With severe scarring from trachoma, Linda Ngitjanka has just six percent vision. However, her artistic talents, linked with her natural sense of colour and design, allow her to create vibrant, energetic works representing the mountains (puli) and bush raisins of her home country, Alkipi.

Linda Ngitjanka first painted at Ikuntji Women's Centre in 1996 and now divides her time between Haasts Bluff and Areyonga where her daughter, Tana, is principal of the school.

Narputta Nangala Jugadai

Born: c 1933
Location: Kaarkurutinytja (Lake MacDonald)
Skin: Nangala
Language Group: Pintupi
Themes: Goanna Tjukurrpa

Whilst she was still a very small child her family, pressured by the increasing hardships of their nomadic way of life, travelled across the western desert from Kaarkurutinytja into the missionary community of Haasts Bluff. Her father, then went back out bush leaving his family with a secure source of food at the mission.

With her brother, Riley Major, she was sent to Jay Creek for schooling, after which she returned to Haasts Bluff, sometimes travelling back and forth from Jay Creek herding goats or collecting dingo scalps for trading. After some time she accepted the job of cook at the community. She soon married the head stockman, Timmy Jugadai, and took on a more important role within the Haasts Bluff community.

Narputta started painting by assisting her husband who painted in the mid-1970s and intermittently into the 1980s for Papunya Tula Artists. She started painting her own canvases with her own stories in 1992 when the Ikuntji Women's Centre opened under the guidance of Marina Strocchi.

Like many in her family, Narputta has the goanna or Kurrkadi Tjukurrpa and this can be seen in many of her early, figurative paintings.

Narputta now often paints her country of Lampintja, near Lake MacDonald. This is her way of looking after the country and tending to her duties to the land and its spirits.

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