Naminapu Maymuru-White

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DOB: 1952
COMMUNITY: Djarrakpi

Naminapu's moiety is Yirritja. She is from the Manggalili clan, Belang group, and her homeland is Djarrakpi. Djarrakpi is about 190kms from Yirrkala and is home to some world famous artists from the Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Art Centre. Naminapu Maymuru-White is one of these artists, with exceptional skills in the areas of painting, carving, screenprinting, weaving, lino-cuts and batik work.

She was taught to paint from an early age by her father and uncle, Narritjin and Nanyin Maymuru. Both men were well-known artists, whose works hang in many Australian and overseas museums. Naminapu was taught to paint using Miny'tji - sacred clan designs, particularly patterns that represent family places and totems - that have previously been the domain of men.

Naminapu is among the first female artists to have been taught these designs and to have used them in her works. She is one of a strong group of female artists that have emerged within the Yirrkala community over the last 50 years.

After attending the Yirrkala mission school, she worked for some time in the store and craft shop and also at the local bank. When the Homeland Centre of Gurka'wuy was established in 1973, Naminapu went to live there with her husband and young family.

During the years she spent there, Naminapu worked as a teacher trainee and later, on her return to Yirrkala, completed her teacher training. When she later married Leon White, a teacher in the Northern Territory, Naminapu went to live for several years in Melbourne and Darwin.

Naminapu has travelled extensively within Australia as well as to Japan. In 1985, Naminapu returned with her husband and family to live in Yirrkala, now no longer a mission station but a locally governed Aboriginal community.

Following her return, she taught art to the children at the local school and then began working at the Craft Shop attached to the Buku-Larrnggay Arts Centre. In 1990, she was appointed Curator of the Art Museum attached to the Arts Centre, a position that she held until 1996.

Over the years there has been a shift in her practice, as she eliminates Miny'tji details from her works and creates her own ways of representing her clan identity. Her works highlight the innovation that is possible within the strict guidelines of cultural inheritance.

Naminapu often paints the Milky Way story by representing the events that took place in ancestral times and illustrates the constellations figuratively. Her larrakitj and lithoprints have won awards at the prestigious Telstra Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards. Her works are frequently included in combined exhibitions in Australia and overseas and she is now herself represented in most major institutional collections in the country.

Copyright Kate Owen Gallery April 2021


  • Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
  • Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
  • Artbank, Sydney
  • Australian National Maritime Museum, Sydney
  • Kerry Stokes Larrakitj Collection, Perth
  • National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
  • National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
  • Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane
  • Wesfarmers Collection, Perth

Awards and Recognition

2016 Public Art Commission for Casuarina Development, Darwin
2005 22nd NATSIAA, Darwin - Winner - Wandjuk Marika Memorial 3D category
2000 17th NATSIAA, Darwin - Finalist
1996 13th NATSIAA Winner - Works on Paper
1995 12th NATSIAA, Darwin - Finalist
1994 The 11th NATSIAA, Darwin - Finalist
1990 7th NATSIAA, Darwin - Finalist
1984 1st NATSIAA, Darwin - Finalist


Selected Solo Exhibitions

2019 River of a Stars - Naminapu Maymuru-White, Salon Indigenous Art Projects, Darwin
2004 Milngiyawuy/Milky Way (first solo show) - Framed Gallery, Darwin

Selected Group Exhibitions

2021 Of the Land, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2019 Tarnanthi, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
2017-2019 Balnnhdhurr - A Lasting Impression, National Touring Exhibition
2019 Top End Ochre, Everywhen Artspace, Mornington Peninsula, VIC
2017 Notions of Country Bark: Paintings & Ceremonial Poles, Annandale Galleries, Sydney
2017 Gapu-Mo?uk: Saltwater Journey to Sea Country, National Australian Maritime Museum, Sydney
2017 Earth Matters: Aboriginal artwork from the Kimberley and Arnhem Land, FORM - The Goods Shed, Perth
2017 Legends and Lore, Artitja Fine Art, Perth
2016 Balnhdhurr - A Lasting Impression - Charles Darwin University Gallery, Darwin NT
2016 Aboriginal Signature, Aboriginal Signature Gallery Brussels, Belgium
2015 Balnhdhurr: A Lasting Impression, Tarnanthi 2015, Adelaide College of the Arts, Adelaide
2015 Mother to Daughter: On Art and Caring for Homelands, The Cross Art Projects, Sydney
2015 Lumggurma, Brumby Ute Aspen, Colorado USA
2014 Buku-Larrnggay Mulka - Yirrkala Print Space Exhibition, Gapan Gallery, Garma Festival, Gulkula, Northeast Arnhem Land
2013 Yirrkala, After Berndt, 1947–2013, The Cross Art Projects, Sydney
2013 Buku-Larrnggay Mulka - Yirrkala Print Space Exhibition, Gapan Gallery, Garma Festival, Gulkula, Northeast Arnhem
2012 Five Miyalk, Five Women, Harvey Arts Projects, Sun Valley, USA
2011 Barrku! Treasures from a Distant Land, Harvey Art Projects, Sun Valley, USA
2011 Miyalk - Women, Feminine Art from Yirrkala, Framed Gallery, Darwin
2010 17th Biennale of Sydney - Larrakitj, the Kerry Stokes Collection, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney
2009 After Berndt - Etchings from the Drawings, Mossenson Gallery, Perth
2009 Starry Starry Night, Framed Gallery, Darwin
2008 Etched in the Sun, Prints made by Indigenous artists in collaboration with Basil Hall & Printers - Drill Hall Gallery, Australian National University, Canberra
2008 Buku-Larrnggay Mulka - Berndt Etchings - Gapan Gallery, Garma Festival, Gulkula, Northeast Arnhem Land
2008 Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Print Space - After Berndt Etchings at Print Exhibition - Gapan Gallery, Festival of Darwin
2008 Outside Inside - Bark and Hollow Logs from Yirrkala, Bett Gallery, Hobart
2008 SAME ONLY DIFFERENT, Mogo Raw Art and Blues, Mogo
2007 Buku-Larrnggay Mulka - Japanese woodblock, Galuku Gallery, Darwin Festival Print Exhibition, Botanical Gardens, Darwin
2007 Milngiyawuy - Chapman Gallery, Canberra
2006 Walking together to aid Aboriginal Health, Shalom College, University of New South Wales, Sydney
2006 Right Here, Right Now: recent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander acquisitions’, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
2006 Nami, Bandigan Gallery, Sydney
2006 Bulayi- Small Gems, Suzanne O’Connell Gallery, Brisbane
2005 Yakumirri, Holmes a Court Gallery, Perth
2005 New Work, Alison Kelly Gallery, Melbourne
2003 Brighton International Art Festival, Brighton, UK
2003 Larrakitj, Rebecca Hossack Gallery, London
2001 New from Old- Gawirrin, Ya garriny, Dula, Wanyubi, Wukun, Annandale Galleries, Sydney
1999-2000 Saltwater Country - Bark Paintings from Yirrkala - National Touring Exhibition - John Curtin Gallery, Curtin University, Perth
1998 Buku-Larrnggay Printmakers Exhibition, Northern Territory University, Darwin
1998 The Fourth National Indigenous Heritage Art Award (Joint runner-up Normany Heritage Art Prize) - Old Parliament House, Canberra
1997 Native Title, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney
1995 Miny’tji Buku-Larrnggay, Paintings from the East, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
1993 Namiyal Bopirri, Naminapu White, Australian Girls Own Gallery, Canberra
1992 New Tracks Old Land: An Exhibition of Contemporary Prints from Aboriginal Australia, touring USA and Australia
1989 Paintings and Sculptures from Yirrkala, North East Arnhem Land, Lyttleton Gallery, Melbourne