Country: Kaakurutinytja (Lake MacDonald) Western Australia
Language: Pintupi / Luritja
Dates c 1933 – 2010
Narputta was born c. 1933 at Kaakurutinytja and, as a child, walked hundreds of kilometres east with her father, Tjalakuny Tjampitjinpa and her brother, Riley Major, to Haasts Bluff, Northern Territory. Haasts Bluff was a cattle station, then a mission settlement until it became the community of today. Tjalakuny returned to the desert and was killed by another tribe near Muruntji and buried there.
Whilst still very young Narputta looked after the goats and camels around Haasts Bluff and Jay Creek. When slightly older she began cooking in the community, including for the local Aboriginal stockmen and the many Pintupi groups arriving from the desert weak and sick.
Narputta married Timothy Jugadai Tjungurrayi who was the head stockman until he began painting in the mid 1970’s by adapting the traditional styles of the initial Papunya Tula artists and depicting site mythologies for which he held responsibilities. They had eight children including the renowned artist, Daisy Napaltjarri Jugadai, and artist Molly Napaltjarri Jugadai.
Narputta began painting by assisting her husband until she began solo work and becoming one of the founding artists of the Ikuntji Art Centre at Haasts Bluff.
Narputta became one of the most important Western Desert women artists and her stories are Lampintja, Kaakurutinytja, Muruntji and the Tjukurrpa of two women ancestors travelling huge distances gathering food and digging goannas from holes. Kaarkurutinytja and Lampintja are significant areas in the Creation time for being formed by a woman digging for sand goannas and are a large salt pan and large mounds and deep dips. Muruntji is an important story as it’s where Narputta’s father was buried.
Narputta won the 1997 National Aboriginal Art Award in Darwin.
hilst in Tingari Arts Narputta would often say to Linx Macpherson that the two of them must travel to Muruntji to build a camel fence around the area where her father was buried.
Narputta Nangala was a special woman, warm, fun and generous and she loved her family.
National Art Gallery of Australia, Canberra
National Gallery of Victoria
Queensland Art Gallery
Art Gallery of South Australia
Darwin Museum & Art Galleries.