Dorothy Napangardi

Born in 1956, Dorothy Napangardi was encouraged to paint by her close friend and well known artist Eunice Napangardi. Her subject matter, Mina Mina, depicts a major women’s ceremonial site in the artist’s custodial country, located near Wilkinkarra (Lake McKay) in the Tanami Desert, north of Yuendumu in the Northern Territory. She quickly mastered painting in acrylics, capturing the movement of the desert in fine dot work
with alacrity and skill.
Dorothy enjoyed hunting immensely and was a skilled at finding various plant and animal food sources.  During the Jukurrpa (The Dream Time), ancestral women of the Napagardi and Napanangka subsection groups gathered to collect ceremonial digging sticks, and then performed ceremonies. From the air the sacred site of Mina Mina looks like small regular shapes with fine white edges. The area is actually soakages which are predominantly dry leaving the dry cracked earth delineated by salt, represented by the white squares in some of her paintings.
Dorothy Napangardi  won some major prizes including the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award in 2001

“Inside the Museum and Art Gallery, Napangardi’s Salt on Mina Mina looked electric amidst an array of 67 paintings, some of the strongest this award has seen. Here her white grid of undulating lines triggered a dynamic play of collision and tension as they worked their way over receding patches of black. In this abstract canvas the traditional iconography from her familiar lines is no longer present; however the white dots depict encrustations of salt stretching to infinity, etched with the tracks of the women walking over the sacred ceremonial site of Mina Mina.” – from Review of the exhibition by Courtney Kidd, Artlink

She also was the subject of a mojor retrospective at the MCA in Sydney in 2003 and was selected as an exhibiting artist for the Sydney Biennale in 2012. Dorothy passed away in June 2013.

National 118th National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards, Darwin, NT.

National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, ACT, Australia

National Gallery of Victoria, Victoria, Australia

Art Gallery of South Australia, South Australia, Australia

Museum and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory, Darwin.

Queensland Museum, QLD, Australia

Linden Museum, Stuttgart, Germany.

South Australian Festival Centre Foundation, Adelaide, Australia

The Homesglen Institute of TAFE Collection, Victoria, Australia

The Holmes a Court Collection

The Kelton Foundation, Santa Monica, LA, USA.

The Kaplan-Levi Collection, Seattle, USA.

The Vroom Collection, The Netherlands

The Erskine Collection, NSW, Australia

The Kerry Stokes Collection, Perth, WA, Australia

The Australia Council Collection, Sydney, Australia


There are some of Dorothy’s paintings available at Gannon house Gallery – Please email us for the details and some images.

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