Alma Nungurrayi Granites

When you enter our black gallery you will feel as if you have been swept up in to the heavens and are swirling around the Milky Way! This is the immediate effect of our solo exhibition of works by Alma Nungarrayi Granites - a painter fast gaining renown in the Aboriginal art scene.    


                                   Alma Nungurrayi Granites  'Yanjirlpirri or Napaljarri - Warnu Jukurrpa (Star or Seven Sisters Dreaming)'  91x91cms  AGRWU796-12

Alma comes from a family of great painters. Her father and mother, Paddy Japaljarri Sims and Bessie Nakamarra Sims, are founding members of the art movement at Yuendumu; a remote community 300km north west of Alice Springs, on the southern fringes of the Tanami Desert. Alma has lived most of her life in Yuendumu and met her husband while they were school children at the local school. She has three daughters and many grandchildren.

Throughout Alma’s life, there has been an emphasis on education. Alma worked as a staff member at the local school in Yuendumu, teaching the local Walpiri language as well as English. Alma would observe elders visiting the school on a regular basis to teach the younger generation about the Jukurrpa (Dreaming) and associated country.

Alma herself became interested in learning more about her heritage and traditions, and decided to attended courses run by the Old Peoples Program and Adult Education Centre. As Alma’s interest in her background grew she learnt more from her aunties, mother, father and other family members about their songs and country where the Jukurrpa takes place.  The ethos of not only learning cultural practices, but bridging traditional Warlpiri life to the new enforced ‘white fella’ way of life is something that Alma tries to apply to her painting career.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Alma Nungurrayi Granites 'Yanjirlpirri or Napaljarri - Warnu Jukurrpa (Star or Seven Sisters Dreaming)'   46X61cms  AGRWU499-12

When Alma stopped working as a teacher’s assistant, she started painting at the local art centre.  However it was not until 2007 that Alma started to paint in earnest. She applied herself and experimented with composition and artistic techniques, while still remaining true and respectful to her Warlpiri culture.

One of the key subjects of Alma’s works is an epic love story; Napaljarri-wanu Jukurrpa (Seven Sisters Dreaming) is the story of the seven ancestral Napaljarri sisters. An ancestral Jakamarra man was in love with the seven Napaljarri sisters and chased them. In a final attempt to escape from the Jakamarra, the sisters turned themselves into fire and ascended to the heavens to become stars. The seven Napaljarri sisters can be found in the night sky today as a cluster of seven stars that is part of the constellation of Taurus (also known as the Pleiades). Jukurra-jukurra (the morning star) is the Jakamarra man, still chasing the Napaljarri sisters across the night sky.

Alma constantly questions her parents and aunties to gain more detailed information and insight in to the stages and sites where the Jukurrpa takes place. With this knowledge, Alma has managed to assertively depict her Jukurrpa with an exuberance and richness which make them the focal point of any setting.


Alma Nungurrayi Granites  - Triptych 'Yanjirlpirri or Napaljarri - Warnu Jukurrpa'   122x138cm  AGRWU3714/12, AGRWU3713/12, AGRWU3715/12


Alma has also mastered the triptych, and we have a selection in our current exhibition that can be separated or placed closely together as one piece.  The separation between the elements and key ancestral figures enhances the tension between the subjects in the painting.

Alma’s paintings have a strong presence, which not only communicates the tension of the story, but the calm and whimsical nature of the night sky. This spectacular exhibition opens with a preview on Thursday 21 March until 8pm at 680 Darling Street, Rozelle, so come along and join us for a glass of wine, view these stellar works, and be transported into the spacey depths of Alma’s paintings.  All artworks are for sale of course, and you can acquire your own very reasonably priced piece of the universe directly from the gallery or through our secure payment portal online.  Artworks can be viewed on Alma's exhibition page right now and as we are open until 9pm this evening, you are welcome to join us for a special preview.




Lorna Fencer Napurrula Exhibition - 2 March 2013

Lorna Fencer Napurrula (c.1920 - 2006) has long been recognised as one of Australia's most influential and talented Indigenous artists, and we are fortunate indeed, following her triumphant touring exhibition in 2012, to show an exhibition of her works - this time all works are for sale.

In the Aboriginal Art world, Lorna's artistic voice has been one of the strongest and most original (in keeping with her own large personality).  She transformed the way that traditional stories were painted with an increasingly vigorous, free, colourful and marvellously creative expression - and the older she  became and the more experienced, this joyous outpouring became more and more exciting.

Lorna Fencer Napurrula  "Ngarlajiya by Spring Water"   138 x 303cm  LNFJ108

Our exhibition opens on 2 March 2013 in the ground floor gallery at 680 Darling Street, Rozelle and of course there is an online exhibition too for our international and interstate clients.  

All artworks will be online from 1 March and available for purchase online or in the gallery.  Enquiries to +612 95555283 or

For a taste of Lorna's artwork as it relates to her traditional stories, visit our Dreamtime Stories section on the artist.  Her stories are a fascinating insight into the Aboriginal culture and the artwork is of course sublime.

Jack Dale passes

It is with much sadness that we announce the death last week of the venerable Kimberley elder Jack Dale, aged 93.   We had a wonderful exhibition of his works - what turned out to be his last body of work - a couple of months ago.  The show was special because Jack virtually got off his sick bed to start painting with enthusiasm after several years of sickness and debilitating strokes.  

As many elder artists do, Jack turned to stories of his spiritual ancestors the Wandjina, and of his early life in the rough and tumble of the Kimberley.  The infamous prison tree, the bombing of Darwin, and the role of the Wandjinas featured in the show with the stories of each artwork displayed alongside (stories are hand written on the back of each artwork as dictated by Jack while he painted them).

Such was Jack's standing as an artist and a narrator of events, that the Australian War Memorial purchased one of the works for their collection.  Other collectors too were quick to add them to their acquisitions.

We have now been requested by Jack's family to place the remaining few works back on sale and have done so in a special exhibition, proceeds from which will go to further assist Jack's family in covering expenses for the funeral.

This is a chance to acquire a special piece of Australian Indigenous and/or Kimberley history from the final body of work by this important and unique artist.

View Jack Dale's artworks at Kate Owen Gallery.

Tiwi Islands Art Exhibition

'Warrumiyanga Way' - works on canvas and paper

The Tiwi Islands are located 100km North of Darwin and comprise of Melville Island, Bathurst Island and nine small uninhabited Islands. 

Whist the Tiwi Islands are part of the Northern Territory, the Tiwi culture is very unique. It is distinguishable by an emphasis on dance (which is still an essential component of everyday life) and the Pukumani ceremony. As well as a skin name, each person has their own dreaming and dance which they inherit. During ceremony, the body is painted in geometric abstract designs, known as ‘jilamara’.

The art of the Tiwi Islands is clearly distinguishable by their fine and intricate designs (many derived from jilamara designs), which is usually applied with the traditional Tiwi painting comb, known as the ‘pwoja’ or ‘kayimwagakimi’. The artists of the Tiwi Islands have explored a vast array of artistic mediums such as painting, prints, Batiks, wood carvings, shell work, and ceramics. Whilst each artist has their own unique aesthetic, there remains a strong emphasis on design and using natural ochres. 

Lillian Kerinaiua - LKE24728 - 45 x 100cms

Tiwi Islander artworks have a special place in Aboriginal art history, associated with the Art Gallery of New South Wales. In 1958 gallery deputy director Tony Tuckson and Dr Stuart Scougall commissioned 17 Pukumani grave posts for the gallery’s collection.  Back then, it was a groundbreaking moment for Aboriginal art, as it shifted Aboriginal visual culture to an art gallery setting, rather than an anthropological piece/specimen housed in a museum.

Estelle Munkanome - ESM60410

Tiwi Island art also has an incredible ‘wow’ factor that is bound to delight viewers.  Right now are showing a beautiful selection of works from the Ngaruwanjirri group – a special group which was created to provide employment opportunities for the people of Wurrumiyanga (Nguiu, Bathurst Island) and to support local Tiwi artists with disabilities.

The artists featured in this show include Alfonso Puautjimi, Estelle Munkanome, Lillian Kerinaiua and Lorna Kantilla - each has a unique and very contemporary style, rendered in soft but edgy ochres.

Alphonso Puautjimi's works particularly, are very collectible:  quirky but powerful representations of his visit to the city - cars, planes and buildings suddenly became his theme - so overwhelming was this new visual environment.  The others range from Lorna Kantilla's soft ephemeral works to Lillian Kerinaiua's simply brilliant compositions of quasi geometrical shapes offset with contrasting areas of dense and varied dotwork.

Unfortunately, this very special art centre closed in late 2012 due to a discontinuation of Government funding – a very unhappy situation indeed, particularly for the artists.  Our exhibition is physically located in our 'Charcoal Gallery' on the second level, but also available for viewing on line – web purchases can be made quickly and easily through our secure payment gateway.

We hope you enjoy the artworks as much as we do!