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
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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