Dorothy Napangardi

Dorothy Napangardi
1952 () - 2013

Country: Yuendumu
Nationality: Australian
Language group: Warlpiri


Dorothy Napangardi was born around 1958 in the area of Mina Mina salt lake in the Tanami Desert. She belongs to the Warlpiri language group and grew up in the settlement of Yuendumu where her father is still a senior lawgiver. She commenced painting in 1987 and had little formal schooling, but was instructed in the historic Dreamings of her people. 

“Dreaming” is an imprecise English translation of the Warlpiri word Jukurrpa, which describes the origins and journeys of ancestral beings in the land, and identi?es the sacred places where the spirits presently reside. A Warlpiri speaker is quoted in a catalog of Napangardi’s paintings: “To me, Dorothy’s work is like Yapa [people] running through and across their country, moving across their pathways when they go traveling. That’s what it reminds me of, Yapa crossing paths, crossing one another’s pathways as they go traveling.”

Characteristically, she minimises all references to the customary Aboriginal iconography. In 1998 there was a significant turning point in Dorothy's work and in 2001 Dorothy won first prize at the 18th National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award, in Darwin, Northern Territory.


2006 Dreaming Their Way - Australian Aboriginal Women Painters, National Museum of Women in the Arts. Washington, USA Published by Scarla Publishers Ltd, Northburgh House, London
2005 Imagined Worlds - Willful Invention and the Printed Image
2004 Our Country, Our Art - Welcome to the Art of Contemporary Australian Aboriginal Artists
2002 Dancing up Country - The art of Dorothy Napangardi Published by Museum of Contemporary Art, Circular Quay Sydney Australia Bibliography 


2016 'Everywhen: The Eternal Present in Indigenous Art from Australia', Hardvard Art Museums, USA
2012 'Ancestral Modern', Seattle Art Museum Seattle, USA
2012 'All Our Relations', Biennale of Sydney, MCA Sydney NSW
2011 'Almanac: The Gift of Ann Lewis AO' MCA touring exhibition
2010 'All is Calm' Fireworks Gallery Brisbane QLD
2010: Museum Ludwig, Remembering Forward, Australian Aboriginal painting since 1960, Köln, Germany
2003 'Dancing Up Country; the work of Dorothy Napangardi'. Asia Tour. Asialink in partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art tour to Vietnam Fine Art Museum in Hanoi and the National Art Gallery, Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur
2002-2003 'Dancing up Country: the work of Dorothy Napangardi', Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA)- Level 4 Galleries 140 George Street The Rocks Sydney NSW
2003 Dorothy Napangardi New Paintings Flinders Lane Gallery, Melbourne VIC
2002 'Native Title Business - Contemporary Indigenous Art 'National Travelling Exhibition, Gurang Land Council (Aboriginal Corporation), QLD 
2002 Melbourne ArtFair 2002, Melbourne VIC
2002-03 'Dancing Up Country; the work of Dorothy Napangardi' - Museum of Contemporary Art, MCA, Sydney NSW 
2002 'Kana-kurlangu' Dorothy Napangardi - Gallery Gondwana at The Depot Gallery, Sydney NSW
2001 'alice.fitzroy@af', Alliance Francaise de Canberra and French Embassy, A.C.T.
2001 'Country After Rain', Framed Gallery - The Darwin Gallery, Darwin NT
2001 ' Dreamtime - The Light and the Dark', Sammlung Essl, Vienna, Austria
2001 '18th National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Award', Darwin NT
2000 'Fifth National Indigenous Heritage Art Award', Australian Heritage Commission, Canberra ACT
2000-01 'The Art of Place Exhibition', Australian Heritage Commission, Old Parliament House, Canberra ACT
1999 'Painting the Desert', Alliance Francaise de Canberra and French Embassy, Canberra
1998 '15th National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award', Australia 
1991 '8th National Aboriginal Art Award', Darwin NT


MET Metropolitan Museum of Art
18th National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards Darwin
National Gallery of Australia
National Gallery of Victoria
Art Gallery of South Australia
Museum and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory
Queensland Museum
Linden Museum Stuttgart Germany
The Kelton Foundation Santa Monica LA USA
The Kaplan-Levi Collection Seattle USA
The Vroom Collection, the Netherlands
The Erskine Collection, NSW, Australia
The Kerry Stokes Collection, Perth, WA, Australia
The Australia Council Collection, Sydney, Australia
South Australian Festival Centre Foundation, Adelaide, Australia
The Homesglen Institute of TAFE Collection, Victoria, Australia
The Holmes a' Court Collection, Perth, WA
The LeWitt Collection, Chester, Connecticut, USA

Artist's locations

view work by Dorothy Napangardi

Mina Mina (Salt Lake) Dreaming #438

Woman's Dreaming at Mina Mina

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