Artwork of the Week: Mina Mina Dreaming by Judy Napangardi Watson 150 x 225cm

Date Created: 2012

About the Artist:

Where do you start...bold, vivacious and absolutely enchanting are words commonly used to describe the great Judy Napangardi Watson and her art. 

Judy was born around 1935 at Yarungkanji, Mt. Doreen Station, at the time when many Warlpiri and other Central and Western Desert Peoples were living a traditional nomadic life. Judy made many trips with her family on foot back to and lived for long periods at Mina Mina and Yingipurlangu, her ancestral country on the border of the Tanami and Gibson Deserts. These places are rich in bush tucker such as wanakiji, bush plums, yakajirri, bush tomatoes, wardapi and sand goanna. 

Judy was taught painting by her elder sister, Maggie Napangardi Watson. She painted alongside her at Warlukurlangu artists for a number of years, developing her own unique style and worked toward a more abstract method of painting that still retains the details, which tell of sacredness, of place and of song. Her powerful use of colour, energetic dotting technique and exceptional compositions have tantalised the Australian art market.

Judy could execute large-scale paintings; however her diminutive stature required that she roll the canvas on the floor and sit on top of it. She energetically moved around the canvas and patiently worked section by section. Once complete, Judy would proudly stand next to her work, covered in paint. The contrast in stature could not be more striking, yet anyone who knew Judy would say her work is the perfect expression of her personality— larger than life. 

Judy’s work has been shown in numerous exhibitions throughout Australia and abroad, and is included in major collections including the National Gallery of Australia.

While we were all aware of her age, Judy showed no signs of slowing down, which meant her sudden passing last year was received with great shock. Still, when I view her art I can only smile, and she remains an inspiration to those who had the pleasure and privilege to spend time with her.

 About the Artwork:

The country associated with this painting is Mina Mina, a place west of Yuendumu, significant to Napangardi and Napanangka women who are the custodians of the Dreaming that created the area. The Dreaming describes the journey of a group of selected women who travelled east gathering bush food, collecting Ngalyipi (snake vine) and performing ceremonies as they travelled.

The women began their journey at Mina Mina where Karlangu emerged from the ground. Taking these implements the women travelled east creating Janyinki and other sites. Their journey took them eventually beyond Warlpiri country. The central motif in this painting is Ngalyipi, snake vine, which grows along the trunks and boughs of desert oak. Ngalyipi is a vine sacred to Napangardi and Napanangka women and has many uses. It is used as a ceremonial wrap, as a strap to carry parrajas laden with bush tucker and as a tourniquet for headaches.

Why we LOVE this Artwork:

We have always been big fans of Judy's art here at Kate Owen Gallery, and this is just a spectacular example of her work! A beautifully balanced composition with unexpected colour combinations, you can't help but feel enlivened when viewing this piece. This artwork is perfectly suited to corporations, foyers, board rooms and public areas, and it definitely says something positive about your business if you display these fine Aboriginal paintings in your building. If you're very lucky, you may even have a wall at home that can house a 225cm long artwork - which means you can take pleasure in this spectacular work of art every day!

 If you would like to know more about this stunning piece, or take us up on one of our gallery services, then please don't hesitate to contact us!


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about our gallery

KO LogoThe Kate Owen Gallery specialises in quality, contemporary Australian Aboriginal artworks, individually selected to bring that 'wow factor' to modern interiors.  Most of our visitors are amazed to see the wide range of different expression adopted by our indigenous artists.  Many who previously had no interest in Aboriginal Art, have their 'eyes opened' to it for the first time, by the sheer beauty and diversity around them.

About the Authors

Entries can come from any of us:

Daniel, Nick, Surrey, Kirby, Liz, Sandra, Jen or me (Geoff).