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Mitjili Napurrula




B. 1945 c.

Mitjili Naparrula is one of the most famous Aboriginal women painters. Her mother Tjunkayi Napaltjarri and her mother Yumari, a Pintupi / Luritja woman came in from the desert and later in c.1945 Mitjili was born a Pintupi woman in Ikuntji (Haasts Bluff).


Like many of her generation, Mitjili witnessed the genesis of the Papunya Tula art movement and her family’s artistic contributions. Her family is one of great importance in the Papunya Aboriginal community. Her mother was involved in the ‘Minyma Tjukurrpa Project’ and consequently became one of the principal women painters at Kintore. Mitjili’s late brother Turkey Tolsen, was the chairman of Papunya Tula Artists, and also a renowned artist whose artworks remain sought after by various collectors all around the world.


In 1993 Mitjili first began painting for the Ikuntji Womens Centre and since that time her work has become understood as archetypical of Ikunti Art. Her dreamings are primarily inherited from her father, Tupa Tjakamarra [now deceased], and these reference the ‘Ilyingaungau’ site. Located approximately 520 km west of Mparntwe (Alice Springs) and south of Walungurru (Kintore), this region is where the artist’s Mutikatjirri ancestors assembled their kulata (spears) for a conflict with the Tjukula men. As taught to her by her mother in the sand, she articulates her father’s Dreaming ‘Uwalki’ [story of the spear straightening ceremony] and her father’s country’s topography with its pristine sandhills, shrubs and Uwalki Trees – which refer to the spearwood trees.


Currently, Mitjili resides in the Northern Territory with her husband artist Long Tom Tjapanangka. Long Tom won the prestigious 1999 N.T. Telstra Art Award. She continues to explore her heritage and dreamings via visually bold and dramatic hues combined with tightly patterned key motifs that sit upon the canvas to tell their own stories.

Mitjili has been painting for redrock gallery since 2005.



1993, 94, 96, 98’ Australian Heritage Art Award, Canberra

1994 Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne

Hotel Shangri-La and Australian High Commission, Singapore

Art Gallery of N.S.W., Sydney

1994, 97- 99’ Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs

1994, 1998 Adelaide Fringe Festival, Adelaide, Australia

1995 Flinders Lane Gallery, Melbourne

1995- 98’ Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, N.T. Australia

1995, 97, 99’ Hogarth Galleries, Sydney

1996 Gallerie Australis, Adelaide

The Meeting Place, Touring Exhibition, Australia

1996, 98, 2000 Niagara Galleries, Melbourne

1997 Goteborgs Konstforening, Goteborg, Sweden

Arnhem, The Netherlands

Alliance Francaise, Canberra

1997, 99, 2000, 02’ Aboriginal Art Galerie Bahr, Speyer, Germany

1998 Art Gallery, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Spazio Pitti Arte Florence, Italy

Framed Gallery, Darwin

Gallerie Dusseldorf, Perth

Gallery Gondwana, Alice Springs

Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne

Niagara Galleries, Melbourne

1999 Flinders Art Museum Flinders University, Adelaide

Fine Art Museums of San Francisco, USA

2000 Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide

2001 Galerie Knud Grothe, Charlottenlund, Denmark

2005 redrock gallery Opening Exhibition, Como Centre, Melbourne

2006 redrock gallery, Group Exhibition, Relocation Exhibition, South Yarra, Aust

2007 June redrock gallery, Group Exhibition, Gallery Grand Opening Beijing, P.R China

2007 July redrock gallery, Group Exhibition China World Exhibition Centre, Beijing P.R China

2007 August  redrock gallery, Group Exhibition, Grand Hyatt Hotel, Beijing, P.R China

2007 November  redrock gallery, Group Exhibition, International Art Expo, Beijing, P.R China



• National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

• National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

• Flinders University Art Museum, Adelaide

• Art Gallery of N.S.W., Sydney

• Artbank

• Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs

• Edith Cowan University Art Collection, Perth

• Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin

• Mem Aziz Collection, Melbourne

• 1997, finalist 14th Telstra NATSIAA

• 1999 Alice Prize (Central Australian Art Award), Alice Springs


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