Pansy Napangati

Language:   Luritja / Warlpiri

Pansy was born at Haasts Bluff in the early to mid1940’s.   Her Warlpiri father, Pinpinga Tjapanangka, was born at Pikilyi, northwest of Yuendumu and her Luritja mother, Larria Napurula, west of Ilpili.     Pansy would paint their dreamings with many titled ‘Willy Wagtail Dreaming at Pikilyi’ and ‘Hail Dreaming at Ilpili’.  

Pansy moved to Papunya in 1960 and from the beginning of the Western Desert Art Movement and the 1971 creation of Papunya Tula Artists she observed the wonderful painting by older male artists such as Johnny Warangkula and Kaapa Tjampitjinpa.   Pansy remembered her grandmother and grandfather telling her stories of her Dreamings and drawing them in the sand.    In addition to the Willy Wagtail Dreaming at Pikilyi, Pansy could also paint her father’s Dreamings of Bush Banana, Cockatoo, Water Snake, Bush Mangoes and Marlu (Kangaroo).     As well as Hail Dreaming at Ilpili, from her mother, Pansy could paint Desert Raisin, Seven Sisters, Kungka Kutjarra (Two Women).

Unlike many other women artists associated with Papunya Tula Artists assisting a male relative, Pansy began painting in her own right in the late 1970’s and selling her work independently in Alice Springs.

In the mid 1980’s Pansy returned to Papunya and became Papunya Tula Artists most prominent female artist winning the 1989 National Aboriginal Art Award and having a solo exhibition at the Sydney Opera House in 1990.

Pansy raised five children and returned to Alice Springs where she continued her love of painting and talking her Dreaming Stories.  For many paintings she would put several paint colours in a container, dipping her painting stick directly where the separate colours met to create a colliderscope of colours in the one dot.

Pansy was associated with Tingari Arts for many years and was always keen to paint, chat and laugh.   She was fun, a pleasure to be with and it was an honour for Linx Macpherson, Director, Tingari Arts, to listen to Pansy relating her Dreaming Stories whilst she painted, especially the Willy Wagtail and Hail Stories.

Collections Include:
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane
Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory
The Kelton Foundation, Santa Monica, USA
Donald Kahn Collection, Lowe Art Museum, University of Miami

Sources used:
Johnson, Vivien, Lives of the Papunya Tula Artists, Australia. IAD Press, 2008

Pansy Napangati
Willy Wagtail & Hail Dreaming in my Grandfather’s Country | Pansy Napangati | TPN 421

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