ARTIST PROFILES

 

Barney Ellaga [1939-2015]
 

Barney was born in the Minyerri region of the Northern Territory and for many years represented his people on the Northern Land Council. Even though he eventually retired to concentrate on his love of painting, he still remained a senior lawman amongst the Alawa people. Barney’s unique ‘snakeskin’ technique of painting has been widely exhibited internationally as well as featuring in many permanent public and private collections worldwide, including our own National Gallery in Canberra.
 

 

Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri OA [c1932 ~ 2002]
 

Clifford Possum is arguably our most influential and revered contemporary aboriginal artist, featuring in many prestigious collections all around the world. Clifford drew his inspiration from the land, most notably the diverse stretch around the Warlugolong region, an extensive area south west of Yuendumu. His meticulous dot work and attention to detail are legendary. In recognition of his contribution to the Australian art scene he was made an Officer of the Order of Australia, but sadly passed away on the day of his investiture. He has the distinction of being the highest auction priced aboriginal artist of all time when Sotheby’s realised $2.4 million for one of his incredible paintings.

 

Dorothy Robinson Napangardi [1952-2013]
 

Dorothy Napangardi was a respected Warlpiri woman who was born at the highly credentialed Yuendumu art community situated north west of Alice Springs.  Dorothy is widely regarded as one of the leading artists of the contemporary Australian Aboriginal art movement. Over the years, her works have featured in many exhibitions throughout Australia, the USA and Europe, where they are now keenly sought after by serious art collectors. As testimony to her enormous talent and Dorothy is the only double winner of the prestigious annual Telstra Art Award and is collected in the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra, as well as numerous collections worldwide. As a guide to her astute collectability and investment potential, her work has a top auction price at Sotheby’s of $129,750. 
 

 

Johnny Yungut Tjupurrula [c1930-2016]
 

Born somewhere around 1930 in the vicinity of Tjungimanta, north-east of Kiwirrkura, in the Western Desert, Johnny Yungut was a respected and senior Pintupi artist. He moved to Papunya in 1959 and began painting for Papunya Tula Artists movement in the 1990's. His work featured in a book titled Bindibu Country published in 1975. Besides participating in numerous group exhibitions, in particular `Papunya Tula Genesis and Genius in Sydney 2000, Johnny has also featured in several successful solo exhibitions. His works are universally collected, both privately and publicly, with a top auction price of over $28,000 at Sotheby’s. He was married to the equally celebrated artist, the late Walangkura Napanangka. 
 

 

Judy Watson Napangardi [c1925-2016]
 

Judy Napangardi Watson was a famous senior painter from the Yuendumu community in the Northern Territory. She was well known for the distinctive style of painting that she developed alongside her sister, the late Maggie Watson who passed away in 2004. Judy is considered to be one of our most accomplished contemporary artists – her unique combination of strong contrasting colours, richly textured surfaces and intricate lineal composition has led to widespread appreciation in the international art world. Judy’s work is held in many public and private international museum collections, with a top auction price of $216,00.  
 

 

Kathleen Ngale [c1938-2018]
 

Kathleen began her art career in the late 1970s working with over eighty other women from the Utopia Region in Central Australia in the medium of batik printing. Her amazing batik work is featured in the book ‘Utopia - A Picture Story’. Like some of the other artistic women of the region, Kathleen easily turned her talents to acrylics on canvas when that medium became the way of the future of indigenous art. She was a highly respected senior artist and her international popularity has steadily grown with her valuable works now being exhibited and collected all around the world.
 

 

Kathleen Petyarre [c1938-2018]
 

Until her sad passing in 2018, Kathleen Petyarre was one of the most collectable living artists in Australia and has had a book published on her life and substantial body of work – Kathleen Petyarre, Genius of Place. For the first few years of her life, she wandered around the vast area of her homeland with her father, his three wives, her many siblings [including her equally famous sister, Gloria] and her extended family. In 1996 Kathleen won the prestigious Telstra Award and her painting career has continued to flourish from there. A 180 x 180 cm version of her ‘bush seed’ trademark style has fetched over $96,000 at a Sotheby’s auction.
 

 

 

Kudditji Kngwarreye [1928-2017]
 

Kudditji Kngwarreye was the younger brother of the late great Emily Kame Kngwarreye – the highest selling female indigenous artist of all time [one of her paintings fetched AU$1.06 million at auction in 2007 only to be resold in 2017 for over AU$2 million]. Kudditji commenced his painting career before his sister and as a traditional custodian of many important Dreamings, he painted ‘his country’ as he saw it, in a unique minimalist semi-abstract style. Transcending the customary boundaries of indigenous art, and bordering on the contemporary, Kudditji energetically engaged large powerful geometrically aligned slabs of brilliant colour to encapsulate the wide-open spaces and the changing seasons of his beloved desert country. 
 

 

Mary Kemarre Morton [c1925-2016]
 

Living until late in life, Mary was truly a veteran artist and respected senior woman of Utopia. Married to renowned artist and sculptor, the late Billy Stockman, Mary was involved in the art world for most of her life. And true to tradition, four of her talented daughters Lucky, Audrey, Ruby and Sarah Morton are now proudly carrying the famous artistic mantle. Mary was renowned for her subtle sophistication of gently overlaying contrasting colours.  As testament to this exceptional talent is the fact that her works have been collected by some major galleries, overseas and closer to home, in the National Gallery in, the Museum of Victoria and the Holmes a Court Collection. 

 


Michael Nelson Jagamarra AM [c1946-2020]
 

Born west of Yuendumu, Michael grew up living the traditional indigenous life, passing through the first rites of initiation at age 13. He eventually travelled extensively, working at several diverse jobs before finishing up as a qualified Justice of the Peace, where he sat on the Magistrate's bench during Papunya court proceedings. He also began painting around 1976, with his fine body of work achieving international acclaim along the way. In 1998, Michael gained instant notoriety when one of his designs was chosen for a mosaic montage on the front of the new Parliament House in Canberra. He had his enormous talents officially recognised when he was awarded the order of Australia in 1993 for services to the arts. Before his passing in 2020 Michael was highly regarded as one of Australia's most collectable artists whose paintings are sought after by local and international collectors alike. His works have been extensively exhibited in prominent galleries the world over.
 


Minnie Pwerle [c1910 - 2006]

Internationally acknowledged as one of the immortals of the aboriginal art world, Minnie began her illustrious career in the 1980s with a series of batik prints for the Robert Holmes a Court collection. Following that success she decided to transfer her immense talents to canvas. Very soon, her energetic raw works soon became the talk of the contemporary art world. Her bold innovative offerings are executed with a decidedly simple naiveté yet possess a sense of underlying deeper spirituality. Minnie’s main specialty genres are Awelye-Atnwengerrp [body paint designs for women’s special ceremonies in her traditional homeland] and Bush Melon Seed. Minnie is the mother of highly acclaimed artists, Barbara Weir and Betty Mbitjana. Extensively exhibited and collected the world over – her larger paintings have fetched up to $85,000 at auction [Lawson-Menzies 2007] - Minnie’s incredible body of work is now regarded as legendary.

 


Molly Jugadai [1954-2011]
 

Born in the desert west of Kintore into an artistic family - her mother is the internationally recognised artist Narputa Nangala, her father was Timmy Tjungurrayi Jugadai and her younger sister is the wonderfully talented artist, Mavis Napaltjarri Jugadai – Molly was instrumental in establishing the Ikuntji Art Centre at Haasts Bluff in the Northern Territory in 1992. Molly [also known as Maluya] is renowned for painting aspects of her grandfather’s country around Lake MacDonald. Her unique style of expression takes the minimalist art form to a new level with her powerfully simplistic yet excitingly bold imagery.

 

 

Ningura Napurrula [c1938-2013]
 

Ningura Napurrula was arguably one of our most collectable indigenous artists. In 2002, she had the distinction of her work being chosen by Australia Post to commemorate its $1.10 stamp.  In 2006, she was selected as the leading female exponent of desert art in an exhibition held at the Musee du quai Branly, the famous Parisian museum dedicated to international indigenous art. Ningura’s unique status was further enhanced when the museum later decided to superimpose one of her works onto the ceiling of their administration building.
 

 

 

Shorty Robertson Jangala [c1934-2014]
 

A respected central desert senior artist, Shorty faithfully interpreted the traditional Warlpiri dreamings in a colourful and energetic manner. Until his passing in 2014 Shorty was still an active member of the Warlukurlangu Co-operative. He lived at Yuendumu with his wife and fellow artist Lady Nungarrayi Robertson. As well as featuring in many overseas collections, local institutions that house his work include the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney, the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne and the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra. 
 

 

Walangkura Napanangka [c1946-2014]
 

Walangkura’s family was among a group of Pintupi people who made their way to the Ikuntji settlement [Haasts Bluff] in 1956 after walking hundreds of kilometres from the salt lake of Karrkurutinjinya [Lake Macdonald]. She began her career in by participating in collaborative projects between the Kintore and Haasts Bluff communities. She subsequently joined and began painting with Papunya Tula Artists in 1996. She lived at Kiwirrkurra with her husband and fellow renowned artist, the late Johnny Yungut Tjupurrula. Her amazing work is represented in many prestigious private and public collections including of the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra.
 

 

Willy Tjungurrayi [1930-2018]
 

Willy Tjungurrayi came in to Haast's Bluff in 1956 with other Pintupi people and began painting for Papunya Tula Artists in 1976. By the early 1980s Willy was recognized as a senior Pintupi painter and he joined the movement for their return to the Pintupi homelands. Willy’s numerous private and public collections include the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra, the Holmes a Court Collection, Art Gallery of Victoria, Art Gallery of NSW, as well as featuring in many international private collections. He has a highest Sotheby’s auction price of nearly $60,000. 
 

Katie Rumble Pitjara [c1966]
 

Born into an impressive artistic dynasty in the Utopia region of the Central Desert, Katie Rumble Pitjara has learned her craft from the very best. Art has always been in her blood. Her extended family includes her internationally esteemed aunts, Gloria and Kathleen Petyarre, and Gracie Morton Pwerle, who have heavily influenced her career. She is also the younger sister of celebrated artist Mary Rumble Pitjara. With several trademark styles in her repertoire, Katie’s main specialties are Women’s Body Paint, Bush Seed and Bush Leaf designs – she is recognised as producing some of the best examples of that genre. Her uncanny sense of design, colour selection and attention to detail are distinguishing traits of her paintings. Katie's works are rapidly gaining well-deserved attention from collectors, with the astute ones recognising her future investment potential