Ningura Napurrula

Ningura Napurrula

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DOB: c.1938 - 2013
Born: Watulka, Kiwirrkurra, WA
LANGUAGE GROUP: Ngaatjatjarra

Ningura was born around 1938 at Watulka, south of the Kiwirrkurra Community, west of Alice Springs. Ningura moved to Papunya in the early days of the settlement with her husband Yala Yala Gibbs Tjungurrayi.

After originally learning her trade whilst doing the background dotting on Yala Yala's works, Ningura took up painting in her own right following the 1996 Kintore Women's Painting Project. She had her first solo exhibition with William Mora Aboriginal Art in 2000 and participated in the impressive Kintore Women's Painting for the Papunya Tula retrospective at the Art Gallery of NSW.

Ningura's status as one of our premier artists was cemented when she was chosen as the sole female desert artist to paint the ceiling of the acclaimed Musee du quai Branly in Paris. As well as the Musee du quai Branly, Ningura is represented in major public galleries both nationally and internationally.

Her work is characterised by a strong dynamism and rich linear design-compositions, created with heavy layers of acrylic paint. According to Australian Art Collector No.37, Ningura Napurrula is one of Australia's most important and collectable artists.


  • Australian Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, Canberra
  • Artbank
  • Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
  • Griffith University Art Collection, Brisbane
  • Kunst der Aborigines, Germany
  • Moree Plains Gallery, Moree
  • Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin
  • National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
  • The Henderson Family Collection, Sydney
  • Owen Wagner Collection of Australian Art at the Hood Museum of Art, Charlottesville, VA, USA
  • Hank Ebes Collection, Melbourne
  • The Luczo Family Collection, USA

Awards and Recognition

2009 Wynne Prize, Art Gallery of NSW - Finalist
2009 TogArt Contemporary Art Award, Darwin Convention Centre, Darwin - Finalist
2007 TogArt Contemporary Art Award, Darwin Convention Centre, Darwin - Finalist
2007 Top 50 Collectable Artists, Australian Art Collector Magazine
2005 Artwork superimposed on ceiling of the Musee du Quai Branly, Paris
2003 Artwork depicted on Australia Post stamp
2002 Alice Art Prize, Alice Sprinmgs - Finalist and Highly Commended
2001 18th NATSIAA, Darwin - Finalist
2000 19th NATSIAA, Darwin - Finalist


Selected Solo Exhibitions

2000 Ningura Napurrula, William Mora Aboriginal Art, Melbourne
2009 Ningura Napurrula: A survey 2005 to 2009, Utopia Art, Sydney

Selected Group Exhibitions

2019 International Women's Day, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2019 Defining Tradition: the first wave & its disciples, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2015 Wynners, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2010 Stories from the Centre, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2003 Australian Contemporary Aboriginal Art in Prague, Toskansky Place, Prague, Czech Republic
2003 Masterpieces from the Western Desert, Gavin Graham Gallery, London, United Kingdom
2001 Aborigena at the Palazzo Bricherasio, Turin, Italy