Esther Giles Nampitjinpa

Esther Giles Nampitjinpa
1948 (Yumara, Western Australia)

Country: Yumara
Nationality: Australian
Language group: Pintupi


Esther Giles Nampitjinpa was born circa 1948 at Yumara, in Western Australia. She grew up living the nomadic lifestyle with her tribe in the desert. Her first lesson in life on the frontier between two cultures was a violent one. As a young girl, her warrior father was shot by a white man in an unprovoked attack, and his body was strung up in a tree. This event exemplefies the hardships she encountered from a young age and that are embodied in her art.

A few years after her father’s death, her family group moved to the then newly established government settlement of Papunya. Esther has since returned to live in her native country with family members. She was known for her skills as a traditional basket weaver before becoming recognised for her exceptional painting skills.

Esther’s artworks represent the traditional homelands associated with her tribe's ancestral heritage. Her works are detailed in symbolism. The iconography depicts sand dunes known as "tali" and rock escarpments known as "puli", as well as waterholes and food sources. Her designs are often used in body art during traditional corroborees. Her paintings depict the physical markings that ancient ancestors have provided to give evidence of their activities during the time of creation.


Selected exhibitions:

2017: Modern Masters, SmithDavidson Gallery, Miami, USA
2013-2014: 'Vivid Memories - An Aboriginal Art History', Musée d’Aquitaine, Bordeaux, France
2011: Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy 
2010: Randell Lane Fine Art Gallery, Perth, Australia

Artist's locations

view work by Esther Giles Nampitjinpa

Untitled #459

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Untitled #584

Untitled #622

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