Uwalki : Watiya Tjuta by Mitjili Napurrula

Artist:Mitjili Napurrula
Title:Uwalki : Watiya Tjuta
Medium:Acrylic on canvas
Size: 62 X 60cm


Mitjili was born c.1940 in the bush west of Haasts Bluff  in a dried out creek bed.  She grew up in the Pintubi country living a traditional life with her family, hunting and living off the land as the Aboriginal people did for thousands of years before her. In 1993, with the encouragement of her husband and her brother the famous artist Turkey Tolson Tjupurrula, Mitjili began painting her own works, mainly about her father's country: the pristine sand hills, bushes and trees of Uwalki. 

In her  work, Napurrula often includes mountain ranges and hills, both in landscape and aerial views. Mitjili uses strong vibrant colours in her paintings. Her distinctive style has gained her a worldwide reputation and a high standing in aboriginal art. She was the winner of the Alice Springs Art Award in 1999.

Mitjili's work was included in the exhibition ‘Spirit Country: Contemporary Australian Aboriginal Art’ at the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco 1999, and featured in the prestigious Adelaide Biennial 2000, ‘Beyond the Pale’. Her work is represented in major Australian and overseas collections including the National Gallery of Australia, Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Flinders University Art Museum, South Australia



The Dreaming (tjukurrpa) of this work concerns making of spears, an important aspect of mens business. Mitjili paints the trees that provide the wood for spear shafts & other wooden objects in her birthplace 200km west of Alice Springs. The country where the trees are found is Uwalki and the tree is known as Watiya Tjuta. This painting depicts the root system of the Watiya Tjuta tree. The tree motif emerges from a white veil of  paint giving the impression of solid trees emerging from beneath the surface. Also often depicted are the hilly mountains in her birthplace

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