Who is Mick Namarari Tjapaltjarri?

By Gwylym Owen

Mick Namarari Tjapaltjarri (b.c.1926 at Marnpi southeast of Kintore, Northern Territory – 1998), was one of the most important painters to emerge from the Western Desert.

From the Pintupi language group, Mick Namarari was one of the instigation artists of the endeavor that emerged in Papunya Tula. White speculative teacher Geoffrey Bardon considered him one of eight artists whose efforts at the commencement of the pastime were particularly interesting. The others were Old Walter Tjampitjinpa, Kaapa Tjampitjinpa, Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri, Tim Leura Tjapaltjarri, Tim Payungka Tjapangati, Charlie Tarawa Tjungurrayi and Johnny Warrangkula Tjupurrula.

From beforehand figurative works, he moved upon to creating large geometric designs that typified Papunya Tula art in the late 1970s and to the lead 1980s. In the 1990s he began producing “minimalist” paintings that depicted the imprint of a kangaroo in the sand, the seeds that the marsupial mouse feeds upon, or the aftermath of hailstorms in the desert.

He died in Alice Springs in 1998, survived by his wife Elizabeth Nakamarra Marks and his daughter Angeline Nungurrayi.

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