Debra Young Nakamarra

Debra Young Nakamarra

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DOB: 1964
Born: Papunya, NT

Debra Young Nakamarra is the eldest daughter of esteemed Pintupi artists Walangkura Napanangka and Johnny Yungut Tjupurrula. Debra was born at Papunya in 1964, and as a child witnessed the inception of the desert painting movement at Papunya. With Debra's father being a highly respected cultural figure within the Pintupi community and a large repertoire of Dreaming subjects, Johnny began painting soon after the desert painting movement began. With the rise of the homelands movement, the family moved away from Papunya, living in various places such as the Kintore community, which is roughly 530 km west of Alice Springs and close to the border with Western Australia.

Debra began painting in 1984 along with her sisters, under the guidance of their mother who taught them their Dreaming stories. During this time, the women artists from the communities at Kintore and Haasts Bluff gathered to start making their own paintings. Prior to that time the women artists had assisted the men of their families with their painting, but had not created their own stories from the women's Dreaming tradition.

Debra employs the classical designs and dotted infilling technique, which has characterised the Pintupi style from the beginnings. The motifs in her artwork resemble those found in her mother's; yet her composition and bold colour choices give Debra's artwork an individualised style. Debra uses the warm reds and oranges of her mother's preferred palette, and incorporates other vibrant - sometimes unexpected - colours, which make her artworks bold, energetic, and bring that 'wow' factor to any interior.

The subject matter of Debra's artwork is her mother's Country and the Dreamings associated with certain sites, such as Tjintjintjin, to the north west of Kintore. Her art creates a powerful sense of energy and we look forward to seeing the progression of this exciting mid-career artist.

Awards and Recognition

2019 Ovarian Cancer Fundraising Night, Mandel Aborginal Art Gallery, Melbourne - Featured artist inivited


Selected Group Exhibitions

2021 Director's Cut: 2021, Harvey Art Projects USA, Ketchum, ID, USA
2021 50 Years of Papunya Tula Artists, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2021 papunya tula | fifty years, Harvey Arts Projects, Sun Valley, ID, USA
2020 60 by 60 - Small Paintings, Japingka Gallery, Perth
2020 Desert Stories, Paul Johnstone Gallery, Darwin
2019 International Women's Day, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2019 Defining Tradition: the first wave & its disciples, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2018 2018 Papunya Tula Artists: Visual Rhythm II, Paul Johnstone Gallery, Darwin