Walukuritja, West of Kintore near Lake Kaarkurutintya born 1933
Haasts Bluff, Northern Territory, Australia
Materials & Technique: paintings, synthetic polymer paint on canvas
One of the major traditional responsibilities of an adult Aboriginal person is to care for his or her country. For many Pintupi people, Narputta Nangala Jugadaiincluded, the coming of Europeans to their country saw them leave their ancestral lands for government settlements or missions. When she was a child, Jugadai’s family moved from her father’s country around Karrkurutinytja (Lake Macdonald) on the border with Western Australia, where she was born, eastwards some 300 to 400 kilometres to Haasts Bluff (Ikuntji) in the Northern Territory.
At this time Haasts Bluff was a ration depot and a Christian mission. Narputta was educated at Jay Creek (Iwupataka) further to the east, near Alice Springs, but she returned to Haasts Bluff as a young woman. From the mid 1970s she assisted her husband, Timmy Tjungurrayi Jugadai, in making paintings for the artists’ cooperative at Papunya, and in 1992 she began to create her own works in a distinctive, bold painterly style, three years after her husband died.
For the displaced, the duty of caring for country is problematic— people fulfill this obligation by performing ceremonies about their ancestral land and by painting it. Karrkurutinytja is the ancestral home of the Kuniya Kutjarra or Two Carpet Snake ancestors. In Karrkurutinytja1993, Jugadai celebrates her place of birth, showing a massive salt lake as a horizontal oblong at the centre of the composition, surrounded by rows of hills at sunset, their edges tinged with red.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
From: Franchesca Cubillo and Wally Caruana (eds) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art: collection highlights National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2010