Mitjili Napurrula

Australian Aboriginal Artist

Mitjili Napurrula 

Other Spellings: Michelee

Born:   	c. 1945
Region:	Western Desert
Community:	Haasts Bluff
Language:	Pintupi
Area:   	Kintore
Social Affiliation:  Napurrula subsection
Subjects:	bloom, Mitukatjarrila
Medium:	Acrylic paint on canvas

Mitjili has received a number of awards of excellence including the Australian Heritage Art Award, Canberra 1993, Northern Territory Art Award, Alice Springs 1994, and most recently the 1999 Alice Springs Art Award.

Collections held:
Artbank, Sydney.
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney.
Flinders University Art Museum, Adelaide.

1993, Australian Heritage Commission National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award Exhibition, Old Parliament House, Canberra.
1994, Hogarth Galleries, Sydney
1994, Adelaide Fringe Festival.
1994, Ikuntji, paintings from Haasts Bluff 1992-1994, Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne;
1994, Central Australian Aboriginal Art and Craft Exhibition, Araluen Centre, Alice Springs.
1994, Australian High Commission and Shangri-la Hotel, Singapore, through Tandanya Aboriginal Cultural Institute.
1994, Yiribana, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney.
1995, Mitjili Napurrula and Marlee Napurrula, Flinders Lane Gallery, Melbourne;
1995, Ikuntji: Paintings from Haasts Bluff 1993-1995, Framed Gallery, Darwin;
1995, The Twelfth National Aboriginal Art Award, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin;

Select Bibliography:
Neale, M., 1994, Yiribana, exhib. cat., Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney. (C) ;
Strocchi, M., (ed.), 1995, Ikuntji: Paintings from Haasts Bluff 1992-1994, IAD Press, Alice Springs, Northern Territory.

Recognized as one of the most famous Pintupi women painters and coming from a patrilineal line of painters Mitjili 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 Womens 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 (deceased) 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 prestigeous 1999 N.T. Telstra Art Award and has many works held in public collections nationally.

Turkey Tolson painted the Tjukurrpa or Dreaming associated with the assembly of spears. Representing the female side of this dreaming, Mitjili concentrates on the trees that provide the wood. Taught her fathers dreaming by her mother, Mitjili has a close association with the spear dreaming as her fathers country Ulwalki is where the trees that provide the wood for spear making are found. Her symbolic representations are strongly patterned works with distinctive contrasts in the use of colour. Formative symbols take shape against a dotted white background - creating depth and movement - a playful combination on the eye.

Other Dreamings Mitjili has inherited include Wangunu or Portulaca (small black seeds ground and used to make damper). And Arkatjirri - a fruit similar to a sultana that is found in the bush. A large body of her work includes vibrant reds, yellows and browns which serve to communicate the essence of flowers, many of her works being primarily concerned with their representation. Her superb sense for spacing and colour is distinctively appealing and indicative of her playful manner. Her works are widely collected both publicly and privately and have been exhibited both nationally and internationally.