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Artist BiographiesBiography of Mitjili Napurrula


Mitjili is a Pintupi woman from the Haasts Bluff region, located 200 km west of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory. She was born around 1945 and is half sister to Turkey Tolson, another well-known Pintupi painter. She married Long Tom Tjapanangka at Papunya in the 1960s and they later lived at Haasts Bluff. She lives at Mt Liebig with Long Tom.

Mitjili Napurrula

Mitjili began painting at the Ikuntji Women's Centre in 1992. She paints her father's country called Uwalki which lies in the Gibson Desert near the Kintore Ranges, west of Haasts Bluff. This country is characterised by red sandhills, bushes and trees including the beautiful desert oaks. Her early paintings were not entirely successful, being seen as rather similar to the Papunya style paintings which she saw as a young woman.

Since working with the Ikuntji artists she has developed a very strong and distinctive personal style based on her paintings of trees and country at Uwalki. She 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".

This style has gained her a strong following within Australia and internationally with regular sellout exhibitions. Mitjili's work was included in the exhibition "Spirit Country: Contemporary Australian Aboriginal Art" at the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco 1999, and featured in the prestigious Adelaide Biennial 2000, Beyond the Pale. Her work is held in major public and private collections in Australia and overseas.

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