1993, Yapakurlangu Jirrama, Batchelor College, Tennant Creek, NT.
Barbara Pananka or Nampitjinpa is an Anmatyerre artist and is mother to the Numina sisters – six daughters and two sons who all live in Darwin, Northern Territory. She grew up in Stirling Station, a cattle station near Tennant Creek where she was schooled by her parents and started painting at a young age, learning from her mum Topsy Thomson Nabanardi (deceased). Her dad is George Jungala (deceased). Barbara worked at the station collecting firewood, ironing clothes and general housekeeping duties for the owners of the station for which she was paid money.
Barbara was married to Douglas (deceased) who was the older brother to renowned artists Ada Bird, Gloria, Kathleen and Violet Petyarre. Barbara moved to Darwin in 2008 to be with her daughters and still lives there today, occasionally going back to Stirling for ceremonies and other family matters.
Barbara Pananka first began painting the Women’s bush tucker dreamings, her dreaming is the bush plum. Aboriginal women have their own ceremonies in which a series of song and dance cycles tell of the Ancestral Beings who walked the earth teaching women’s law and ceremony to isolated groups living throughout the desert. Each tribe has its own set of women ancestors with different stories, designs and dances, but most of the ceremonies have one theme common to all groups – that of food gathering as the most important part of women’s lives.