Born: Kiwirrkurra, WA
LANGUAGE GROUP: Pintupi
COMMUNITY: Kintore, NT
Kayi Kayi Nampitjinpa was born in 1946 in her country of traditional lands known as Kiwirrkurra which is North West of Alice Springs. Today she lives in the Pintupi community at Kintore. Kintore was founded in the early 1980’s when the Pintupi tribes left the government reservation at Papunya. (Kintore is approximately 600 kms west of Alice Springs).
Kayi Kayi is part of the new ’second generation’ of artists who started painting in the 1980’s. Although already in her late fifties, Kayi Kayi is considered a young artist as she has only been painting since 1996. These second generation women artists whose early beginnings centered around assisting the male artists of Papunya, have emerged with their own unique and sophisticated styles.
Kayi Kayi’s country is Kiwirrkura where she has custodial rights to paint her dreamings. Kiwirrkura is ‘her country.‘ Her distinctive style gives a unique perspective to her dreamings. She paints primarily rock hole dreaming and women's ceremony. The design elements in her paintings refer to the designs that the women paint on their bodies for ceremonies. The secret or sacred Tingari cycle provides the mythology underpinning her works.
Generally, the Tingari are a group of mythical characters of the Dreaming who traveled over vast stretches of the country, performing rituals and creating and shaping particular sites. The Tingari women usually followed the Tingari men and were accompanied by novices.
It is the Tingari men and women’s travels and adventures that are enshrined in a number of song cycles. It is only through initiation ceremony that Kayi Kayi has permission to paint the stories that she does.
She is married to Nolan Tjapangati also an artist and she draws on inspiration from her fellow artists. At the Kintore community there is a communal artists shed where all the women artists gather to paint, sing their Dreamings and develop their ongoing style.
The Kintore community at present has over fifty artists all of whom are gaining in popularity. The Kintore settlement has been home to some of the great masters of the Papunya Art movement, Turkey Tolson and Mick Namerari to name a few. Today, these masters descendents are the new artists to enter the Aboriginal art world.
The market demand and future potential of an artist such as Kayi Kayi is yet to be fully realized. As Kayi Kayi gains in confidence and develops through various influences, her artist status will go from strength to strength.