Australia 1926 – 1998
Untitled (Rain Dreaming at Nyunmanu)
Kintore, Western Desert, Northern Territory, Australia
Materials & Technique: paintings, synthetic polymer paint on linen
A masterful colourist, Mick Namarari Tjapaltjarri was born at Marnpi, south-east of Walungurru in the Northern Territory, around 1926. He was a Pintupi man and lived his early years out bush. After witnessing the death of his father, Namarari moved from Mount Liebig in the Northern Territory to Ntaria (Hermannsburg), later settling in Haasts Bluff. After working as a stockman at Haasts Bluff, Namarari eventually moved to Papunya, where he began to focus on painting.
In 1971, the schoolteacher Geoffrey Bardon was posted at Papunya. Once there, Bardon consolidated the artistic skills of the senior men in the community into what is now known as the Papunya Arts movement. Although the cultural knowledge, designs and practice of the local people had been ongoing for thousands of years, it was with Bardon’s encouragement that the men started to articulate their ancestral stories onto small composite boards; the production of over two hundred such works gave rise to the movement.
Namarari was one of those whose initial involvement helped set the standard and quality of art that has since come out of the community. His growth as an artist over the following decades, however, can be seen in his Untitled (Rain Dreaming at Nyunmanu) 1994, an exceptional painting and one of the most striking examples of Namarari’s final works. His long linear brush strokes of differing shades of subtle pinks seemingly float over a darker base to create a sense of movement and life in the landscape. The mesmerising repetitive lines subtly shift the tonal quality to reveal the rain soaked undulating sandhills accentuated after a big rain. Namarari’s sense of Country, use of colour and minimalistic design is extraordinary.
Untitled (Rain Dreaming at Nyunmanu) is a magnificent complement to the Gallery current collection of fifteen other works by Namarari. It will be shown in the exhibition Australia at the Royal Academy of Arts in London from this September.
Tina Baum Curator, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art
in artonview, issue 75, Spring 2013
Mick Namarari Tjapaltjarri was born at Marnpi, south-east of Walungurru (Kintore) in the Northern Territory’s Western Desert region. He was a Pintupi man and lived his early years out bush where he witnessed the tragic death of his father. From Mount Liebig he moved to Ntaria (Hermannsburg), later settling in Haasts Bluff where he worked as a stockman. He was at Papunya from the early 1970s until the 80s when he returned to Walungurru, from where he established an outstation at Nyunmanu.
Namarari was one of those whose initial involvement at Papunya helped set the standard and quality that typifies Western Desert art. A masterful colourist, his development over the following decades is exemplified in Untitled [Rain Dreaming at Nyunmanu], one of the most striking examples of Namarari’s final works, in which his sense of country, use of colour and minimalistic design is extraordinary. His long linear brush strokes of differing shades of subtle pinks float over a darker base to create a sense of movement and life in the landscape. The mesmerising repetitive lines shift the tonal quality, accentuating the undulating sandhills at Nyunmanu soaked after a big rain.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2014
From: Collection highlights: National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2014