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 May 2022