Born: Alice Springs, NT
LANGUAGE GROUP: Warlpiri
COMMUNITY: Yuendumu, NT
Athena is a fourth-generation painter with Warlukurlangu Artists Corporation, an art centre located in Yuendumu, NT. She is the great grand-daughter of Paddy Japaljarri Sims (deceased), one of the instrumental senior men in the painting of the now famous Yuendumu school doors, as well as one of the founders of the art centre in 1985. Her mother is Geraldine Napangardi Granites and her grandmother is the late Alma Nungarrayi Granites, both well-known artists.
Athena has lived most of her life in Yuendumu. She attended the local school and graduated from the Senior Girls Upper School in 2009. Since leaving school she has gained work experience working in the office at Mt Theo, a program that provides comprehensive training in youth development and leadership.
In 2010 Athena began painting with Warlukurlangu. She learnt her skill by watching her mother, sisters and grandmother paint. She paints Jukurrpa from her father's side (Ngapa Jukurrpa - Water Dreaming) and her mother's side (Ngalyipi Jukurrpa - Snake Vine Dreaming and Yanjirlpirri Jukurrpa - Seven Sisters Dreaming). It is her modern interpretation of her Seven Sisters Story that has caught the attention of art lovers around the world.
Inspired by her grandmother's luminous celestial skies, Athena has employed an unrestricted palette and uses an experimental approach to the resources of paint and water. She concentrates on the way these materials react to each other, and unpredicted effects that result, for instance, from the textures of the earth upon which she works, the result of a large splash of paint or the dried pooling and puddling of paint are allowed to dictate the progress of an image.
Intricate dot work, splashes and fine mists of colour are applied to create the illusion of space, distance and closeness. Her work is undeniably compelling and to spend time with an Athena painting is akin to looking into the depths of the cosmos.
Athena is married to Sebastian Jupurrurla Wilson and they have one son. When Athena is not painting and when the conditions are right, she likes to go hunting with her family for Honey Ants, Bush Banana, Goanna and Kangaroo.
Copyright Kate Owen Gallery June 2021
Awards and Recognition
2019 Artist Workshop, Paspalis Centerpoint, Darwin
Selected Solo Exhibitions:
2021 Across the Night | Stories of the Stars, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2019 Athena's Seven Sisters - A celestial display of the Seven Sisters Dreaming by Athena Nangala Granites, Art Mob, Hobart
Selected Group Exhibitions
2021 Across the Top 2021, Art Mob, Hobart
2021 The Seven Sisters and the Night Sky, Art Mob, Hobart
2021 Top 20 2021, Art Mob, Hobart
2020 Murdie Leads the Pack, Art Mob, Hobart
2020 Top 20 Exhibition, Art Mob, Hobart
2020 Warlukurlangu Artists: New Works from Community, Flinders Lane Gallery, Melbourne
2019 Seven Sisters, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2019 The Children of the Warlpiri, Art Mob, Hobart
2019 Infinite - An Exploration of Deep Time and Space, Hearth Galleries, Healesville
2019 Women in Colour, Cooee Gallery, Sydney
2019 International Women's Day, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2019 Fire Country - Warlukurlangu Artists, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle, WA
2018 My Country, Salt, Queenscliff, VIC
2018 Land and Sky - Warlpiri Artists, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle, WA
2018 Desert Mob, Araluen Centre, Alice Springs
2015 Yuendumu Jukurrpa, Woolloongabba Art Gallery, Woolloongabba